No, you may not light up in this Parisian museum dedicated to smoking, although there is a vaping lounge available for visitors.
Despite the evolving attitudes towards tobacco and other plants, since 2001 this 650-foot storefront near the Père Lachaise cemetery has been dedicated to the leisurely activity of many of France’s greatest minds and leaders. Century-old snuff boxes and ancient packets of cigarettes make up the permanent collection, as well as delicate clay pipes from the 17th century.
Ephemera in the form of postcards and cartoon strips depict smoking culture of the previous century. A display case with a drying rack shows tobacco leaves—dark ones from the Dominican Republic, the lighter ones from Virginia.
Even though Paris has a street named for Jean Nicot—the 16th-century diplomat and nicotine namesake who brought tobacco to France and got the royal court addicted to snuff—and extensive cinematic association with artful cigarette puffing, indoor smoking has been illegal for nearly a decade.
Despite the ban, founders Michka Seeliger-Chatelain and Tigrane Hadengue remain dedicated to their cause of spreading smoking history and information. In 2008, Seeliger-Chatelain told the New York Times, “All our great writers seem to have been smokers.”
Know Before You Go
Take the Metro to the Voltaire Station and exit moving east on Rue de La Roquette. Rue Pache will be on your left.