Europe travel photos and information at Travel Signposts The history of locks since Roman times, deadly thief-catcher devices, and baroque trompe d'oeil
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Unusual Paris Museums and Galleries

Lock MuseumMusée de la Serrure (Lock Museum)

Update: The Musée de la Serrure - Bricard is now unfortunately closed, and I have no news of whether it will ever re-open. Carla Polastro-Nigro has contacted me (May 2009) to say that there is now an art gallery (Galerie Libéral Bruand) there now, so if it does open again it will probably be somewhere different.

Still, I'm keeping this page up as a reference, in the hope that the company (now taken over by the US firm Ingersoll-Rand) will see fit to let the public in again. If anyone has any news, please let me know!

Musée de la Serrure - Bricard
Hôtel Libéral Bruand, 1, rue de la Perle , 75003 Paris
Tel: 42 77 79 62 Fax: 42 77 61 06

Métro: Saint Paul, Chemin-Vert
Bus: 29, 96
Open: 10 a.m.-12 noon, 2-5 p.m. Monday - Friday; closed August;
Entry: €4.57

The history of locks since Roman times to the present day presented in the Hôtel Libéral Bruand, built in 1685 by the architect of the Invalides, Libéral Bruant (although it is in a different style: in particular note the series of rondels on the facade decorated with cornucopias). This was his personal home and was bought and restored by the Bricard company which specializes in decorative locks and iron works. The inside stairwells are decorated with illusional trompe d'oeil paintings which are characteristic of the baroque period.

prévôtale lock or thief-catcherThe museum displays an amazing assortment of bronze keys and iron keys, gothic door decorations and intricate iron works for doors and windows, including the fittings for Napoléon's palace doors, locks that attacked you if you tried a false key (see on left), and a seventeenth-century masterpiece made by a craftsman who was kept under lock and key for four years while he was creating it!

Chamberlain's keys - Bronze giltThe collection dates from the Gallo-Roman period, the middle ages and from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The museum also has a locksmith's workshop.

Tip: The Picasso Museum and Carnavalet are close-by, and there's the Musee Jean Moulin and Leclerc Memorial next door. Upstairs they have a panoramic multimedia presentation of the occupation and liberation of Paris. It is on an upper level, take the elevator from the pavement outside the Montparnasse station.

Next page : Museum Website List

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