June 6th, 2012
The Le Bourget Air and Space Museum in Paris, France has an incredible collection of aircraft dating back to the early years of aviation. They have a fantastic World War One hall which includes an original Spad VII (rare!!!) that was flown by French Air Ace Georges Guynemer (1894-1917) – a national hero and their second highest ace with 53 kills. A large proportion of the aircraft on display are of French origin so in that regard alone it provides a very unique experience for the aviation enthusiast. This is made even more special because many of the aircraft on display are prototypes, some of which never went into production, so you get to see a very rare collection.
There are 11 display halls in the museum and outdoor exhibits. These are Hall 1: The Beginnings of Aviation, Hall 2: The Aces of 1914-18, Hall 3: Models Gallery, Hall 4: Airships, Hall 5: World War 2, Hall 6: Concorde, Hall 7: Prototypes, Hall 8: French Military Aviation, Hall 9: Helicopters, Hall 10: Inter-War Aircraft and Hall 11: Space Exploration.
Unfortunately certain parts of the museum are currently under renovation (particularly Hall 10) but you can still see the main display halls and there are no issues with the outdoor displays. The Concorde Hall was closed for a private function – this holds a prototype Concorde, a production Concorde and a Dassault Mirage IVA supersonic strategic bomber – the latter is something I really wanted to see, so I snuck into the hall……I saw it but got escorted out by security before I could take a photo (my request to do so was firmly turned down!). Oh well at least I saw them! The museum is free to visit with the only fees being if you want to enter some of the larger aircraft like the Concorde or Boeing 747.
The Beginnings of Aviation & The Aces of 1914-18
World War 2
French Military Aviation