Musée du Service de Santé des Armées in Paris, France: Medication or Moroccan?

Thursday, January 09, 2020 0 Comments

Museum of the Armed Forces Health Service
One of the nice things about traveling is the great chance to meet new people along the way. A perfect example for me, at least, was during the random visit to a local museum in Paris, one rainy afternoon. While the rain started to pour, leaving us with no choice but to find shelter, we decided to swing by the nearest museum around the neighborhood, which happened to be the Museum of the Armed Forces Health Service. It’s not as famous as the likes of Louvre, but it is more than packed with replicas of history in it!

When we were strolling around the labyrinth-like hallways, I could not help but notice this seemingly disheveled uncle who kept on smiling at us. No creepers here, he was just being friendly. Then when we approached this area where he was stationed, he decided to strike a conversation in French. Of course on a scale of one to i-don’t-understand, I was neither smart enough to guess, nor cool enough to pretend I understand. It’s surprising though, as Asians as we looked, that the old man didn’t hesitate to speak with us in French. He was very polite and pleasant.

Only to find out, he wasn’t really French-born. He was a Moroccan. His family was a refugee who immigrated to France. Fast forward to a few decades, as a way to give back, he dedicated his life in the service of the Army Health Service museumWhat a life story! Every detail unfolded intensely as we walked around the museum, it was as if we were in a play, watching everything transpire, with characters relating to every artifact we saw inside the museum. And it was told beautifully in English with French-Moroccan accent. A chance meet up through a random visit in this museum!

And so the story goes - we ended near a church like area of the museum, where we heard a pianist and a singer performing their practice session. To say that it was glorious is an understatement, because truly, it was more than enough to bring goosebumps to your toes. Even the Moroccan caretaker was enamored by the performance. We clapped despite the silence that echoed through the hallways. It was a great experience worth remembering, for sure!

The museum in itself is not for the faint hearted. It’s an upgraded version of the ones you’ll probably see in Cambodia – a positive version compared to the “genocide museum” type of visuals. It’s more of an educational approach to it, with so much archives on the evolution of military medicine and the conditions of care for soldiers in combat back in the day. Of course, photographs abound, and so here they are – enjoy!~

Museum of the Armed Forces Health Service at Val-de-Grâce
1 place Alphonse Laveran 75005 Paris France

Bowdy is an amateur adventurer, a coffee sleepyhead, and a start-up rooter, with a penchant for classic-looking photos. At last count, he has visited some 60 countries, and is now living in Singapore. He's always in search of fascinating routines to exploit, within the edges of after-office hours and (un)limited holidays.

For collaboration ideas, email bowdywanders@gmail.com.

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