This page is dedicated to physicist Marie Curie with links,
photos, bios, and a walking tour of Paris where she lived and
Walk in the footsteps of the world's
most famous woman physicist
Proceed to the Left Bank of Paris
1. Port Royal Metro Station - a good place to start or end your tour.
There are Metro subway stations all over the area. Another possibility
is Cardinal Lemoine Metro station on rue Monge. It is closest to the Pantheon
and the Sorbonne area. Metro Jussieu is adjacent to the Marie and Pierre
Curie University. Check the map of the Metro
2. No. 4 rue de la Glaciere (4th floor) - south of Port Royal Blvd.
In September, 1895, Marie and Pierre Curie marry, and they move to this
3 room flat. According to a recent biography, Marie had some reservations
about marrying someone who was not a Polish patriot like herself. Pierre
suggested that they live together in ajoining apartments. They got married
instead, and the rest, as they say, is herstory. (The photo below is used
with permission from AIP Photographic Archives).
Officially, Marie was studying for her teacher's certificate. Then in
1896, Becquerel discovers "mysterious" rays emanating from uranium
salts. Marie decides to investigate this strange phenomena for her PhD.
3. No. 3 rue Flatters (6th floor) - off Port Royal Blvd.
Before she married, she lived alone in this apartment as a physics student.
There were no elevators, no hot water, and no money for heating. She gave
up a lot to marry Pierre: her freedom.
4. No. 11 rue des Feuillantines (6th floor) - travel north on Glaciere.
Another of Marie's student apartments on the cheapest, not quite respectable,
6th floor. During these years, she devoted herself almost exclusively to
physics at the Sorbone. She was probably very happy.
New 500 franc note honoring the Curies' research on radioactivity
5. EPCI - School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry, rue Lhomond
Pierre was on the faculty here. He met Marie when he was 35. He had
made a name for himself in physics investigating piezo-electricity. Marie's
first lab where she discovered Thorium and Radium was a shed donated by
EPCI on rue Lhomond. Pierre soon joined "her work."
(The above photo used with permission from The
6. Curie Museum, No. 11, rue Pierre et Marie Curie
Marie's lab and office from 1914-1934 has been turned into a museum.
The radioactive furniture has been replaced with safe replicas. Her desk
contains her last smock worn in the lab, her journal, glasses, and pen.
The Museum is open Monday through Friday, 1:30-5:00 PM.
Marie Curie's lab notebooks are available for viewing at the Bibliotheque
Nationale (not on the map). They are highly radioactive, and visitors must
sign a release!
(The above photo used with permission from The
Marie Curie's ashes were moved to their final resting place in the Pantheon
on April 20, 1995. She is the first woman so honored.
On a hill across from the Pantheon was the library of St. Genivieve
where the physics student Marie spent many a night. At that time, the Sorbonne
was modernizing its science departments, and the temporary lab rooms were
located on rue St.Jacques.
Pierre gave a public lecture about their Nobel prize research in the
then new amphitheatre at the Sorbonne pictured above. It was either the
pain in his legs or stage fright which caused his legs to shake visibly.
In 1903, he and Marie were both suffering from the effects of radiation
exposure. Marie had a miscarriage.
9. Marie and Pierre Curie University - No.4, Place Jussieu
10. No. 36, Quai de Bethune on Ile
If you walk further on rue de Cardinal Lemoine towards the Seine, find
the Pont de la Tournelle. It will take you over to the "island"
of fashionable apartments where Marie lived from 1911 until her death from
leukemia in 1934.
Neuf - the oldest bridge in Paris
(the above photo used with permission from Metropole
In 1906, at Pont Neuf and rue Dauphine, Pierre Curie was run over by
a heavily loaded horse cart which killed him instantly. It was raining,
and his view may have been obstructed by his umbrella. There is also the
possibility that he was not feeling well due to radiation sickness. His
health was deteriorating, and he had severe pains in his back and legs.
Other Locations not on the tour -
92 rue d'Allemagne (2nd floor) - Marie's first apartment in Paris. Today
the street is named Avenue Jean-Jaures in an outlying district, La Villette,
near Par des Buttes-Chaumont.
Pierre Curie was born on rue Cuvier opposite the Jardin des Plantes.
Marie taught physics at an elite, private girls' school in Sevres, named
Ecole Normale Superieure. You take a train to the suburbs of Sevres and
get off at the Grand Rue near Mme. Pompadour's porcelain factory.
No. 108, Boulevard Kellerman near the old city fortifications opposite Porte
de Gentilly- a larger 2 story house south of Paris where the Curies lived
after moving from the Glaciere flat.
Marie Curie, a life / by Susan Quinn / Addison Wesley / 1995
Grand Obsession / Rosalynd Pflaum / Doubleday / 1989
A Devotion to Their Science, Pioneer Women of Radioactivity /
M. & G. Rayner-Canham / Chemical Heritage Foundation / 1997
Marie Curie, the Polish Scientist who Discovered Radium /
Beverley Birch / Gareth Stevens Publishing / 1988