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Paris Chocolate Museum

Le musée gourmand du Chocolat

Cheryl Imboden and chocolatier at Choco-Story Paris

ABOVE: Cheryl Imboden poses with Choco-Story's resident chocolatier after a chocolate-molding demonstration.

Choclala pralineFor most visitors to Paris, the word "museum" is a synonym for "Louvre", "Centre Pompidou," or "Musée d'Orsay." But there are many small museums in Paris that also deserve a tourist's attention, such as le musée des Égouts de Paris (Paris Sewers Museum) and--more appetizingly--Choco-Story, also known as le musée gourmand du Chocolat or the Gourmet Chocolate Museum.

Statuette at Choco-Story ParisChoco-Story Paris is the third in a series of private chocolate museums operated by the Van Belle family of Erembodegem, Belgium, who launched a Bruges museum in 2004 and a Prague branch in 2008.

The Paris version of Choco-Story opened in 2010 and is sponsored by Belcolade, the second-largest Belgian manufacturer of chocolates for the professional market. (Belcolade's products are widely used by French chocolatiers, bakers, and pastry chefs.)

Choco-Story occupies three floors of a building on the Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, one of the Grands Boulevards in central Paris. It's made up of three sections:

  • The first section traces the history of cocoa (going back to the Mayan and Aztec eras). It also introduces the cocoa tree and the fundamental principles of chocolate-making.

  • The second section covers the development of chocolate in Europe, from the importation of the first cacao beans into Spain in 1527 to the industrialization of chocolate-making in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Exhibits range from antique chocolate cups to modern machinery.

  • The third part of the museum features temporary exhibitions and a Demonstration Center where visitors can watch chocolates being made, with fresh samples to eat and enjoy.

Choco-Story Chocolate Cia Colonial signThe museum has a collection of more than 1,000 objects, many of them chosen personally by Eddy Van Belle, the patriarch of the Van Belle chocolate-making clan. Choco-Story also sponsors the international Cocoa Development Fund, which supports cocoa farmers and chocolate cooperatives in developing countries.

Visitor information

Hot chocolate at Choco-Story ParisChoco-Story is open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. (last entrance at 5 p.m.) The price of admission isn't cheap, but it does include a chocolate sample, and you can easily spend a couple of hours in the museum--or longer, if you can't resist buying a cup of hot chocolate in the gift shop and bookstore.

For detailed information, including ticket prices and how to reach Choco-Story, visit the museum's Web site at www.museeduchocolat.fr.

To see photos of the museum (including the chocolate-molding demonstration with samples), continue to page 2 of this article.

Next page: Museum photos

In this article:
Choco-Story: Paris Chocolate Museum
Museum Photos
Chocolate Demonstration

More museum articles:
Fragonard Perfume Museum
Medieval Louvre
Musée des Arts et Métiers (Industry and Inventions)
Musee de l'erotisme (Paris Erotic Museum)
Musée National du Moyen Age (Cluny Museum)
Musée Bourdelle
Musée Zadkine
Paris Sewers Museum