History of the Pasteur Museum

After 30 years spent at the Ecole normale, in 1888 Louis Pasteur moved to a specially designed apartment at the Institut Pasteur. The apartment that has since become the Pasteur Museum is remarkably evocative of the personality of its former occupant and rich in wonderfully preserved collections.

Musée Institut Pasteur - Grand Salon

Louis Pasteur lived in this apartment between 1888 and 1895, the last seven years of his life.

Due to failing health, on June 13, 1895 he left the apartment for Marnes-la-Coquette, where he died on September 28 later that same year.

In 1910, a while after the death of Louis Pasteur’s wife, all the scientist’s personal belongings except for the furniture and a few paintings were moved to the Vallery-Radot mansion house in Versailles.

The apartment at the Institut Pasteur remained virtually empty and largely silent for over twenty years, except for the occasional one-off event now and again.


Notably on the centenary of Louis Pasteur’s birth in 1922, delegates from nations and universities around the world came to visit the apartment.

Bottles, flasks, and microscopes that once belonged to Louis Pasteur were displayed in cabinets along the living room walls. These objects formed the first collection for the scientific souvenir room that was put together 15 years later.

Doctor Roux, Doctor Legroux, and Professor Pasteur Vallery-Radot (Louis Pasteur’s grandson) worked to preserve and restore the living environment of the illustrious historical figure.

Doctor Roux, who presided over the Institut Pasteur until he died in 1933, firmly opposed any occupancy of the rooms. Even then the apartment was destined to serve as a living reminder of Louis Pasteur and his work.

On February 6, 1935 at a Board of Directors’ meeting, the new President Louis Martin announced Louis Pasteur Vallery-Radot’s decision to leave all the furniture and objects that had belonged to his grandparents to the Institut Pasteur.

Histoire du musée - Institut Pasteur



Histoire du Musée _ Institut Pasteur

The apartment was then restored to its original appearance by Doctor Legroux. Only the first and second floors were modified. The original layout was reproduced as faithfully as possible. Certain objects evoked admiration or recognition for Louis Pasteur’s work.

On May 20, 1936 the restoration work was complete. The apartment then became the Pasteur Museum and Dr Legroux was appointed as its manager.

The Pasteur Museum has since become a place of remembrance.

Both a science and art museum, it is also a rare testimony to late 19th-century decorative art.


Back to top