Musee Gourmand du Chocolat - Choco-Story museum in Paris
There are so many different museums in Paris with some of these being very unusual, and a chocolate museum had to happen at some point, as you can find numerous gourmet boutiques selling fine chocolates, so it was long overdue to finally see the opening of the Musee Gourmand du Chocolat - Choco-Story Museum.
Origins of Musee Gourmand du Chocholat - Choco-Story Museum
It all first started as a private enterprise of the Van Belle family who were passionate about chocolate and its rich history that spans over 4000 years, and they opened up a museum in Bruges, Belgium in 2004.
A second museum was opened in Prague in the Czech Republic in 2008 closely following by the Musee Gourmand du Chocolate, known as the Choco Story Museum in Paris in 2010, with the aim of sharing their knowledge of the history of chocolate and the influences it still has on people today.
The founder of this unique museum in Paris regularly travels all over the world in search of different objects that relate to chocolate, along with information from different countries and the secrets they have to tell on how their chocolate has been produced from years gone by.
To this end, all of the items Mr Van Belle collects are presented in the different museums so that they can share their passion with anyone that is interested, but they also publish books on the subject, which can be purchased at their shops.
About the Choco-Story museum in Paris
You will get immersed in the amazing world of chocolate and the museum is actually broken down into three separate parts with one on the history of chocolate, another on making chocolate and the third is definitely one children or those that adore chocolate will like as there is a demonstration centre where you can try a sample.
This first section of this museum portrays the history of cocoa with the Olmecs who were the first to use cocoa 4000 years ago, then it goes on to the Mayas who laid the foundations for cultivating the cacao tree, then onto the Aztecs and so on, with cocoa being classed as the divine nectar and a valuable currency.
The Second part of the tour through the museum continues on the history theme from the 1500s, which subsequently led to the introduction of cocoa in Europe, with Christopher Columbus being the first person to experience cocoa, although it was the Spanish that really made it popular in Europe after adding sugar to sweeten it.
Originally classed as a drink for nobility and at royal functions, this soon spread to different countries in Europe with it being served at formal hearings in France as early as 1615.
By the mid 17th century the first tea rooms or chocolate rooms were starting to appear and here at the Musee du Chocolat - Choco Story there are some fabulous different cups and chocolate pots on display, even though this chocolate drink was still regarded as a delicacy for nobility, and up until the 18th century chocolate was manufactured by hand.
But that changed with the Industrial Revolution and during the 19th century chocolate manufacturing was changing and could be found in either a liquid state or a solid state, which meant that it was now starting to be readily available for the masses, although still very expensive for the average person.
So the Musee Gourmand du Chocolat - Choco-Story also takes you through this time and into the 20th century with the introduction to chocolate manufacture, which is more like we know it, and there is a melting machine and lots of other utensils on display.
In fact, there are over 1000 authentic and original objects on display, which all relate to chocolate and its production as a liquid and in solid state, going through the centuries.
But the museum does not stop there, as there is a third section with a demonstration centre that details how the best chocolate is made, what you should and should not do when preparing chocolate, and you can even taste the chocolates that are made on site.
You can also discover more about the different qualities of chocolate, and why it can actually be good for your health. In addition to this, there are temporary exhibitions held, which could be on a specific area in the field of chocolate, but also the continual progress of this very popular consumable product enjoyed by millions daily.
There is also a short film that you can watch, which goes through the different stages of how chocolate is produced, right through from the growing of the cacao tree to the end product, and then the visit will finish with a presentation on the actual chocolate supplier that the Musee Gourmand du Chocolat uses.
Also, children are most definitely not forgotten at this museum, as there are even playmobil models designed specifically for them to get a greater understanding of the history of chocolate.
Demonstrations and Chocolate Tasting
You can also enjoy one of the demonstrations that are conducted throughout the day, which is approximately every 30 minutes and you will be able to get to see how the chocolate is tempered, but the best bit has to got to be tasting the finished article, from what you have just seen made.
For anyone who loves chocolate, the Musee Gourmand du Chocolat - Choco-Story has got to be on your list of tourist attractions in Paris as even when you first enter this museum in Paris you will be given some chocolate samples.
There are also different Origin chocolates that have specific flavours depending upon where they are produced, and you will also be able to experience some of these on your tour around the museum.
In addition to this, any child between the age of 6 and 12 is provided with a sheet of paper and stickers. If these are placed in the correct order when handed in at the end of the tour, each child gets a small present to take away.
There are different workshops organised for children of different ages along with adults, and these are conducted with a chocolatier who will show you how to work the chocolate and create your very own chocolate delights that you can take away with you to share your experience.
Available from the age of 6 upwards, they are on average a duration of between 60 minutes and 90 minutes, with the workshops differing depending upon abilities and the ages, with some only being suitable for those aged 14 and above.
Including the visit to the Choco Story museum as well, there are Fun Workshops and Technical Workshops learning how to make Pralines and shell shapes, etc, which are a cost of €40 per person as of 2018. There are also Family workshops where parents help their children to draw with chocolate and create delights including lollipops they take home, which are a cost of €27.50 as of 2018.
Visiting the Choco-Story museum in Paris
The Musee Gourmand du Chocolat - Choco-Story is open from 10am through to 6pm every day of the year, except on major National French Holidays such as 1st January, however, we would like to point out that last admission is at least one hour before closing time.
As of 2018 the cost of entry to this museum is €11 for adults, €10 for students or those over the age of 65, €8 for children between the ages of 6 and 12 and free to children under the age of 6.
You can also have an optional hot chocolate such as a traditional Aztec or Spanish recipe or the more familiar milk, etc at the end of your visit, which is an additional cost of €3 per person.
When it comes to groups these are a minimum of 15 people per group at a cost of €9.90 per person, and need to be booked in advance, plus the Musee du Chocolat - Choco Story Museum can also offer you guided tours.
The historic guided tour lasts approximately 1 hour, and you can then enjoy the demonstration with one of their chocolate makers, which is designed for groups of up to a maximum of 25 people and is a fixed cost for the speaker rate in addition to the museum entry for an exceptional and privileged experience, only available upon booking prior.
There is also a shop on site where you can purchase numerous different books, souvenirs and their own range of chocolates to take back home with you after your holiday in Paris comes to an end.
Access to the Musee Gourmand du Chocolat
You will find that the Musee Gourmand du Chocolat - Choco-Story is located in the 10th Arrondissement of Paris and is often referred to as just the Musee du Chocolat or the Choco Story.
When it comes to getting here via public transport in Paris, the nearest Metro Station to the south is the Bonne Nouvelle stop serving lines 8 and 9, yet a little further away you have the Strasbourg - Saint-Denis stop serving lines 4, 8 and 9. To the west you have the Cadet stop and Le Peletier stop, both serving line 7 and to the east there is the Chateau d'Eau stop serving line 4.
Alternatively, the bus lines 20, 39 and 48 would also get you to this unusual and unique museum in Paris, but for those of you with your own vehicle, you may be pleased to know that there is a public car par located close by as well. However, the nearest RER train station is unfortunately quite some distance away at the Gare de l'Est serving the RER lines B and D.