SolidWorks Engineers Go Underground in Paris

SolidWorks Visits Paris Sewer Museum
My colleagues and I decided to take the metro to Paris on Sunday.  So what landmark does a group of engineers visit first?  The Eiffel Tower?  The Louvre?  No.  We decide to go underground to the "Le Musée des Égouts de Paris", The Paris Sewer Museum!

Paris Sewer Museum - Walking Tour
This is a real walking tour in an actual working sewer and a must see for the curious engineer or just the curious.  As you descend a narrow circular staircase, you are faced with a long narrow, damp tunnel and a large dripping pipes overhead.  There are many creepy dark tunnels that are blocked off – but you can definitely imagine what the workers went through in the 1800's and even today. 

Engineers of the Day at the Paris Sewer Museum

Luckily for Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte knew there had to be a method to provide clean drinking water to its citizen and remove the waste far away from the Seine river and the city’s boundaries. This was a big problem, for waste in drinking water was killing its citizens.  

Engineers solve problems.  There is a great pride given to the engineers that solved the problem, Eugene Belgrand (hydraulics) and Jean-Charles Alphand (land architect – civil engineer).  These engineers were instrumental in the expansion of the Paris sewer system to handle human waste and waste water.

Les Mis Work of Victor Hugo and the Paris Sewer

There is also a display featuring the survey equipment used by Emmanuel Bruneseau.  Bruneseau was in charge of surveying the extensive network of the Paris sewer system.  He provided his friend Victor Hugo with an accurate account of tunnels and outlets underneath the city that the author captivated audiences in his novel, Les Misérables.  My daughter told me she is taking me to the Les Mis movie next month.  I will be looking at the story from a different perspective.

Paris Sewer Museum Gift Shop Rat Toys
As in all Paris museums, there is a gift shop.  So what would you find in the Paris Sewer museum gift shop?  Toy stuffed rats of course. The little ones start 3 euros.  Before assending to street level, there are very clean restrooms that provide a place to wash your hands.

How to Find the Paris Sewer Museum
The Paris Sewer Museum is located at the Pont de l'Alma,  93 Quai d'Orsay.  You can see the Eiffle tower from the corner.

My colleagues and I did finally walk from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre along the Seine.    We admired what other french engineers created above the ground; its bridges, monuments and buildings.  But it is the engineers below ground that also contributed to the city's greatness.

Today I wonder where are the engineers that make a difference in our cities and solve problems of waste and waste removal. Ironically a new case study was published this week.  Using SolidWorks, CP Manufacturing engineers design and implement the process that separates all those materials we put on the curb, glass, plastic bottles, aluminum cans and newspapers.

 With over 400 material recovery facilities worldwide, the company is a leading innovator of waste management and recycling equipment.

  CP Manufacturing

You can learn about their story here.  

Engineers continue to solve problems of waste removal.  Perhaps 100 years from now, tourists will look to visit a separation facility designed by CP Manufacturing.   Marie







Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Director of Education Community, SolidWorks at Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corporation
Marie Planchard is Director of the Education Community, SolidWorks. She is responsible for global development of curricula, content and social outreach for the SolidWorks educational products across all levels of academia.
Marie Planchard
  • Corporal Willy

    Hi Marie. I was wondering about a condition that most likely could be found in most sewer systems. In the recent history of mankind, going back about 150 years, we have burned a lot of coal in our power plants that creates a situation where a high acidity seeps into our sewer systems. Did anyone every study the affects of this on the underground infrastructure? We tend to not even think about these very necessary modern day systems, until they do not work. I know the Pyramids and other European historical structures have seen the affect of this. I’m not a chemist by any means but I believe it is sulphuric acid and that can kill off the fish in lakes and has some other bad affects on the environment. Just a thought. Bye.

  • maviyan

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