S636 Argonaute Submarine in Paris
The Argonaute is a real submarine that served in the French Navy before being decommissioned, and eventually this become one of the many unusual tourist attractions in Paris that sees thousands of visitors every year.
About the S636 Argonaute Submarine
With its French name being l‘Argonaute Sous-Marin, this diesel-electric submarine of Arethuse class was launched on 23rd October 1958 and formed part of the front line for the French Navy, which was used during the war in the 1950s.
She was the fourth ship of the French Navy to bear the name of Argonaute and weighing in at over 500 tons with a length of almost 50 metres, she gave 24 years of service as the Flagship within the French Toulon submarine squadron.
The Argonaute submarine spent over 2,000 days at sea and an incredible 32,000 plus hours submerged, yet eventually, after going enough distance to travel around the earth ten times, the submarine was decommissioned on 31st July 1982 and was also disarmed in the same year.
The Amerami Association was originally founded by the director of the Musee de la Marine and its goal is to preserve French Maritime history, and it was after seven years of negotiations that the Amarami Association eventually managed to save this prototype submarine from becoming scrap.
Originally located at the French Naval base in Toulon in Alpes Cote d’Azur region, it was towed from there via Gibraltar, along the coast of Spain and Portugal, eventually to port of Le Havre in the Haute Normandie region of France.
From there, on 25th September 1989, the Argonaute submarine started to slowly make its way through the seven locks of the Saint-Denis Canal and once it had reached the quay on the Canal de l'Ourcq, the submarine was lifted from the water by giant cranes and then transported on a 96-wheel trailer to its final resting place.
Then in 1991 the Argonaute was finally ready to reveal its technological mysteries and wonder to the public in its now permanent berth, which is in the Parc de la Villette and opposite the Cite des Sciences in the 19th Arrondissement of Paris.
Visiting the Argonaute Submarine in Paris
Having been refurbished for easy visiting and even repainted in 2006, with the help of an audio guide that is available in different languages, you can venture inside and see things like the crew stations and the torpedo launching area, the periscope and the radar detectors, plus much more so that you can get a feel for how these mariners used to live and work.
There is also a dedicated visitors centre with an exhibition that shows the history and techniques of submarines and details of the Argonaute, which means that even if you are disabled and cannot look around the submarine itself, you can still learn more about the fascinating history of the French navy along with the history and technology of submarines.
The l’Argonaute Sous-Marin is just one of the fantastic tourist attractions in Paris and is a great way of spending time with the whole family at this marvel of engineering, not forgetting that it provides a greater insight into the working conditions and fuels the imagination even further.
Access to the S636 Argonaute Submarine
This Argonaute submarine is open to visitors from 10am to 6pm from Tuesday to Saturday and from 10am to 7pm on a Sunday, but during the French school holidays it is open from 10am through to 7pm.
However it is closed on a Monday and on all national French holidays.
As of 2013 a visit to the Argonaute will only cost you €3 per person, but we would like to point out that children under the age of three are not allowed into the submarine, and unfortunately, as we mentioned earlier, the submarine itself is not accessible to the disabled.
Located in the Parc de la Villette opposite the Cite des Sciences in the 19th Arrondissement, the nearest Metro station is the Porte de la Villette stop serving line 7 and this landmark in Paris can also be reached by bus lines 75, 150 and 152.
However, other options for public transport located around this large park include the Porte de Pantin Metro stop serving Line 5, the tramway via the T3B line and additional Bus Lines 139, 151 and 330 along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via Lines N13, N41, N42, N45 and N140.
Yet for those of you with your own vehicle, then you will be pleased to know that there are different public car parks located at the Parc de la Villette, plus there is also a Velib station for the self service bike hire scheme, if you feel like getting here via your own steam.