Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers

From the Rue du Vertbois, one can distinguish a tower and the compound of a building that was once extremely important – Saint-Martin-des-Champs. Louis XIV stood the Fontaine du Vertbois against the wall of the monastery, which was perhaps the first public fountain in the Capital. After the revolution, the priory became the property of the state. The abbot Grégoire offered it a second chance. In 1794, this revolutionary priest proposed in effect the convention of transforming Saint-Martin-des-Champs into the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers. Its objective was to fight against ignorance, to bring technical knowledge and expertise together, and to perfect national industries. It soon became the home of some of the most innovative machines of the era. After this, the conservatoire opened its doors to the general public in 1802. Formed by the abbot Grégoire, demonstrators inside explained how the displayed machines worked. This collection then expanded and new machines were introduced all the time. Under the Second Empire, the nave of the restored church became a gallery for moving machines. Loyal to the spirit of the abbot Grégoire, the museum of the Conservatoire that was renovated in the 1990s now hosts conferencing facilities. The building also houses a superior educational establishment in various subjects. Today, the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers is better known by its initials (CNAM), and it has spread across the entire planet.

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