The Smoking Museum in Paris, between rites and culture

This week, we take you to the Musée du Fumeur [the Smoking Museum]. Sweep away your common preconceptions, this place is no cult to cannabis. Yet, it will introduce you, using pieces and plants, to the story of the smoker and the introduction of this practice in Europe.

Open over 10 years ago, the Musée du Fumeur was first a café doubling up as a bookstore, as well as a place to taste cigars. And before that, the 7 rue Pache was a butcher’s shop. If it went a long way since then, it’s now an entire museum. We also learn that smoke has something sacred, a shamanic dimension common to Indians and Hindus.
First and foremost, smoking is a spiritual ritual.

The tour, evolving around 26 points from A to Z returns on the origins of the action itself: smoking. In addition to tobacco, we also find the evolution of how incense, hemp and opium were used. Their narcotic properties and their place within societies are represented by lithographs, engravings or advertisements… The cabinet of photographs also gathers 180 portraits of personalities smoking: Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Hitchcock, Che Guevara, Gainsbourg… Two other areas, the Galerie and the tobacco paintings offer on the first hand a temporary exhibition currently devoted to cartoons of smokers, on the other hand, Frédéric Degain’s work on entire or reconstructed leaves in tribute to the Mayan culture.

This small, quirky and playful museum is no incitation to smoke but truly an explanation of the evolution of this practice in France especially. The Musée du Fumeur is about to look like a new one since in September, it shall offer new entertainments by returning to its first love: tasting.

Mélanie B.
Last updated on 9 August 2011

Practical information

Location

7, rue Pache
75011 Paris 11

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