By TED LUEBBERS
A friend of mine in Experimental Aviation Association Chapter 534 who knew that my wife Joan and I would be spending some time in Paris, France, in May of this year suggested we visit the French Air and Space Museum, called Musee de L’air et de L’espace.
He said “you will see things there that cannot be seen anywhere else.” He was right.
The museum is located at Le Bourget Airport about 25 miles outside of Paris in the town of Le Bourget. This is the airport where Charles Lindbergh landed after his epic non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
We were staying in a hotel near the Eiffel Tower and were initially concerned about how we would get there, considering we had never been to France before and didn’t know our way around very well.
Fortunately, we had purchased a five-day Tourist Pass before we arrived in Paris, which included the Metro, train, bus, and boat tickets, so all we had to do was insert the Metro pass in the gate or flash the other passes as we entered.
It was surprisingly easy to get there and only took us about an hour. We took the subway, called the Metro, to Guard de Nord, the train station, to the town of Le Bourget. At the train depot we got instructions to walk about three blocks to the center of town and get on Bus 152 at the bus stop. After several stops over a three-mile local bus route we arrived at the museum.
This museum is reputed to be the oldest aircraft museum in the world as it opened in 1919. It covers 1.6 million square feet of land and hangars.
It has a large collection of French vintage aircraft, World War I and World War II planes, two Concord Supersonic aircraft side by side, modern French military jet planes, as well as examples of contemporary commercial aircraft and rockets.
According to museum officials, the museum has a collection of more than 400 aircraft, with 150 on display, ranging from the very first airplanes to the Breguet 19 “Point d’Interrogation,” the Spitfire, and the Concorde.
A person could easily spend a day there and see most of what the museum has to offer. There is a restaurant on the premises when you want to take a lunch break.
We recommend it to any aviation buffs who might be spending time in Paris.