Musée Carnavalet, Paris – France +++++

The mechanical drive of vehicles is a fascinating story provoking endless debates as to whether it is the forerunner of the bicycle, i.e. the motorcycle or the automobile.

Wheelchairs are a major advance in enabling independence for people with walking difficulties. The first self-propelled wheelchair has been attributed to John Joseph Merlin, the ‘ingenious mechanick’, in the early 19th century and his ‘gouty chair’ is exhibited at Kenwood House. Research would suggest that comparable chairs existed in France as early as 1751 and the French Revolutionary, Georges Couthon, used one to get around Paris. A later design, also attributed to Merlin, the invalid wheelchair, features large wheels with outer hoops for the occupant to grasp and this is the true ancestor of the modern wheelchair.


Address: 23 Rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris, Francie

283/A. Musée Carnavalet, Paris


283/B. Musée Carnavalet, Paris

In the museum dedicated to the history of Paris itself, the attentive visitor and bicycle lover will also find what they are looking for.

283/C. Musée Carnavalet, Paris