Paris: Choco-Story MuseumPosted by in Travel
I can find an excuse to eat chocolate just about everywhere I go, and Paris is no exception. Choco-Story, the museum of chocolate made it pretty easy for me. Located on the Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, right in front of the Bonne Nouvelle Metro Station, this museum was easy to find. It doesn’t compare on the outside to the other grand museums you will likely visit while in Paris, but it’s bigger than it looks. The museum is three stories and at 9 Euro a person it is well worth a visit for anyone who enjoys chocolate.
This museum pays special attention to the littlest visitors. Each exhibit has a child’s level explanation in Lego (I adored these little Lego dioramas that illustrated the point of the main exhibit) with simple text for the youngest visitors.
The main gist of the museum is to guide you through the development and 4000 year history of
chocolate. Chocolate originated with the Mayans, who used it as an unsweetened hot drink only allowed to the nobility. You follow the history of chocolate as it is used by the Aztec, then comes to Europe and the colonies. The museum has an astounding amount of information and displays. You could easily spend an afternoon here if you wanted to read everything (and there are English translations of just about everything).
In addition to learning about how chocolate has been used in different cultures, you can see the actual plant and pods and learn how it grows, is processed, and cooked with. Cacao was not only used as food, but also as a monetary system (personally I would have no problem with being paid in chocolate!). Detailed exhibits explain
how chocolate has been prepared through the ages. Recipes are posted for visitors’ use as well.
The third floor of the museum has displays that pertain to current and mainly American use of chocolate (are they trying to say something?). The huge display of beautiful chocolate pots and cups fascinated me. Chocolate molds reminded me of the ones my father-in-law used to use. You’ll also see some chocolate advertisements.
The basement of the museum (which is the last part of the visit) contains some videos, but also has an interactive computer quiz you can take that assesses your tastes and recommends a type of chocolate and a country of origin for it that you are
most likely to enjoy. Everyone in my family loved this part of the museum.
Also in the basement is the chocolate making demonstration. We were very interested to go to this, but it was a huge disappointment unfortunately. The chef leading the demonstration spoke in rapid fire French. Someone in the audience asked if he could speak “En Anglais, s’il vois plait” also. He slowed down for a moment to say he was also speaking English and then proceeded to continue speaking in an fast and indecipherable way – presumably in French and a very heavy English accent. No one had a clue as to what he was saying. The demonstration began with samples of different types of chocolate. Then the chef turned on a machine that poured melted
chocolate into a mold. He put it in the refrigerator, pulled out one that had already chilled and dumped the chocolate out. This was the entire demonstration. In my book, that’s not making chocolate, it’s just molding chocolate. There were more samples at the end which kept us quiet. It’s hard to complain when your mouth is full.
After we had explored the museum, our path led us to the gift shop (always my favorite part of a visit to a museum). We bought different types of chocolate to bring home (white chocolate for the husband, dark orange chocolate for me and dark chocolate for my daughter). At the conclusion of the visit, you get a cup of hot chocolate in the flavor of your choice. There are about 8 different flavors to choose from. One was traditional Mexican with chile in it. White chocolate, hazelnut, dark chocolate, and orange chocolate
were all options. You are handed a cup of hot milk and a piece of chocolate on a stick. You swirl it in the chocolate until it melts. There’s just one small bench to sit on and enjoy this, but there are some public benches in front of the museum if you can’t find a spot.
This was a sweet ending to a fun afternoon for us. When we visited on an August weekday, the museum was not crowded at all. This is not on most people’s radar, so at this point, it’s still a hidden gem you can enjoy without crowds.
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This sounds like a great museum. It did not exist 15 years ago, when I lived in France. I will put it on my list of new things to do in Paris. Thanks.
This sounds like a good time – I will follow chocolate anywhere!
I would love this museum! It’s surprising to me that a museum about chocolate would be in Paris. Somehow, a Swiss location would make more sense to me. I’ll put this on the list for a future visit to Paris.
Oh, a chocolate museum. It sounds wonderful! And I”m sure it smelled divine. I have been to the Taza factory store, which features delicious Mexican chocolate, and grew up near Hershey. What I remember about both of these places was how the air smells deliciously of chocolate.
What a great museum that gives you hot chocolate at the end. We should have more of those in the U.S.
Really, anything that ends with hot chocolate is a winner!
The room where they did the chocolate demo was wonderful smelling!
Yes, I thought the same thing, but wasn’t about to pass it up! We also went to a perfume museum in Paris that I will be writing about.
Wow, Brette, this sounds like an awesome museum, especially the samples, YUM!
I’ve been learning about sustainably grown and prepared chocolate through writing about a company in Somerville, so I’ve been thinking about the Central/South American connections, which continue today. Sounds like this museum would be a fine place to learn more. Thanks for telling us about your visit.
Sounds lovely – and delicious! I love the hot chocolate drinks you got at the end. That’s a major chunk of chocolate you’re swirling in the hot milk!
The chocolate making demo appeals to me!
It was pretty amazing! The milk was really foamy too and now I’m thinking I need to do that at home when I make hot chocolate!
Thanks for the heads up on this place. Sounds magnifique.
Fascinating! I would likely still be there if I’d gone… 🙂
I NEED to go to this museum. J’adore le chocolat!
STOP! Love chocolate. Love it. Love it. Love it. I’ll have to add this to my must-go list. Headed off to pin it now. Thanks!
I can never pass up visiting a chocolate museum. I didn’t know about this one. Looks like a lot of fun.