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The Monnaie de Paris historic center of coin production, and the only working factory in the city, opened to the public on 30 September, 2017 – after six years of transformation work. The Mint (Monnaie) was officially established at Quai de Conti on 20 December 1775 but dates back to 864 – a historic fortress now reveals its’ secrets.
“There is now, in Paris, a place where you enter a “city” within the city of light. A place where you can have lunch or dinner in, arguably, the world’s best restaurant (Guy Savoy), discover real treasures and buy original gifts in a designer boutique. You can watch craftsmen at work, learn everything about the manufacture of what we all have in the bottoms of our pockets – coins – and finally visit La Monnaie’s changing exhibitions of contemporary art”, explains Aurélien Rousseau, Chairman and CEO of Monnaie de Paris. “The goal of this Métalmorphoses project is to allow the public to delve into the history of this unique site – discover its riches- and take part in the activities of Monnaie de Paris”, he adds.
Architect Philippe Prost was commissioned to head the ambitious Monument Historique project which has taken six years and cost an eye-watering 75 million euros. But you, dear reader, can enter these contemporary stone blasted hallowed halls for a mere €15 and purchase commemorative coins from €2!
About 150 artisan craftsmen work in the Paris workshops, producing art objects, medals, decorations and coin minted in precious metals. Since 1973, the other 150 employees are based at the plant in Pessac, in the Gironde region of Bordeaux, from where the current euros in your pocket are struck.
Visitors discover the unique exhibition rooms and the Monnaie de Paris workshops via a succession of sensory immersive experiences marking the circuit (in English if required): the sight of minerals sparkling in the dark and the sound of coins as they are struck.
Under the “Monnaie de Paris 11 Conti” brand the address will become a showcase for French know-how and craftsmanship. In addition to the new Monnaie de Paris boutique, major French luxury houses will open boutiques creating limited edition products linked to traditional skills and the French lifestyle. And a landscaped garden is planned for Spring 2018.
At present, the chic boutique, located on the site of the former factory, the Manufacture Royale – with its zenith shaped 17 meter high skylight – sells exclusive “Monnaie” haute jewelry, high-end souvenirs, and an eclectic collection of clothes and accessories by über couturier Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Need to Know: WOMEN HOUSE
From 20th October-28th January, 2018 – organized by Monnaie de Paris and in cordial collaboration with The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. – is a collective exhibition, curated by Camille Monineau, exhibiting the work of 40 women artists – from four continents – including Rachel Whiteread, Niki de Saint Phalle, Cindy Sherman, Johanna Vasconcelos, Louise Bourgeois etc.
La Cour des Fonderies also commemorates Benjamin Franklin, the first “unofficial” Ambassador of the United States in Europe, who stayed several times at Monnaie de Paris from 1776 to 1778. The name of the courtyard reflects the importance of the relationship between Monnaie de Paris and the United States. “During the 19th and 20th centuries, Monnaie de Paris developed “special relationships” with the United States, both with its coins and its medals”, explains Aurélien Rousseau.
And not only superchef *** Guy Savoy, but, on the ground floor, there’s also Cour de la Méridienne – Café Frappé Par Bloom — an all-day eatery (Weekend Brunch – closed Monday) with cobblestone terrace. Stay tuned.
11, Quai de Conti, 6th. Tuesday to Sunday 11am-7 pm. Thursday – until 9 pm. Tel: 01 40 46 56 66. Metro: Pont Neuf, Odeon, Saint Michel. Book online (€15) at :
Lead photo credit : ® Monnaie de Paris