I stumbled across a poster for the Mundolingua museum of languages during a busy long weekend in Paris. Given my love of language and Scrabble, this looked like my type of museum. Miraculously, I saw the poster during my only few spare hours in Paris, and it was just a few streets away. I had to go.
What a place! My French travel partner and I were warmly greeted with a melange of French and English. After some guidance on how to make the most of our visit in our preferred language, we started with a game on the top floor. It was interactive, with a touch screen and earphones, and lots of fun.
In fact, the entire museum is an experience for the senses, with sounds, visuals and plenty of items to touch. The most reluctant of visitors will find something interesting here.
My travel partner shrugged at the giant language tree above our heads while I gasped in happiness. He went ahead to ogle at the Enigma machine, a device embraced for military communication in Germany during World War 2.
While the Enigma machine kept him busy, I sat down to read about the braille machine — something that has always fascinated me. There were loose sheets of paper by the machine and a large board showing the braille code for the alphabet. Was it really okay to test out the machine? At this museum, yes it is. I typed my name in braille, which was more challenging than I’d expected. I could have spent all afternoon on that machine, but there was a lot more to see.
Needing a break, my travel partner relaxed on the couch with a coffee while I got busy on the giant Scrabble carpet. We didn’t have enough time for a full game, so I used the tiles to reflect my feelings.
There were plenty of interesting information points (some with topics I covered during my linguistics studies at university, but presented in a more accessible manner) such as slang, proverbs from around the world, and the history of personal names.
With no time to look at the Rosetta stone, to learn how polygraph lie detectors work or to delve into the library of language books, we thanked the staff and left. I’m already planning a longer visit during my next stay in Paris!