Monday, December 04, 2006

Apothicairerie de l'Hôtel Dieu le Comte

Sunday started off beautiful with warmer temps and a sunny blue sky. Unfortunately, by the time we got my in-laws' for lunch, the blue skies were nearly obscured by dark grey clouds accompanied by strong gusts of wind with rain not far behind. Despite the change in weather, we decided to press on with our afternoon activity, visiting the Apothicairerie de l'Hôtel Dieu le Comte in Troyes.

This tiny museum is comprised of two rooms; the first is a gorgeous apothercary in the same state that it would have been in the beginning of the 18th century, and the second smaller room, which was the laboratory, which contains some displays of apothecary instruments as well as some religious items that come from the chapel of the Hôtel Dieu.

While the laboratory holds a few interesting items, the real beauty of this museum is the apothecary. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with over three hundred painted wooden medicine boxes and hundreds more ceramic containers, many of which still have their contents' names painted in Latin. A wooden staircase with bronze wheels rests against a wall, and would have given the apothecary access to the highest shelves, while an opened corner door reveals hundreds of pewter pieces.

This museum is among the finest of its kind in France and shouldn't be missed, but be warned that it will only take a half hour of your time. The Hôtel Dieu also contains another musuem, which is interactive for children, but it is also in easy walking distance to the center of Troyes in one direction and the cathedral in the other, so it would be an excellent break on a walking tour.

The entrance fee is usually five euros, but because we visited on the first Sunday of the month, the fees in most museums in France are waived. Photographs are allowed but without flash (which is why my pictures came out a bit dark; can't ask for much better with my little point and shooter!). You can see more pics of the museum by clicking on the photo.

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