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Maison Nicéphore Niépce

Home of the first photograph

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World’s oldest photo laboratory

Located on the N6 road south of Chalon-sur-Saône, Maison Nicéphore Niépce is where the first known photo – Point de vue du Gras was taken in 1826 or 1827. The house, in the village of Saint-Loup-de-Varennes is now a museum.

The house has been painstakingly restored to as it was 1816, when Niépce tried to take his first photo. Included in this small museum is the attic, where the first photo was taken, Niépce’s workshop and office. You’ll also find what’s billed as the oldest photo laboratory in the world. Chemicals of which were found in 2007 after siting in a local attic since the 1850s.

Guided tours in French last about an hour. Buy your tickets at the cafe/boutique.

Niépce’s inventions didn’t stop with photography, he also built an internal combustion engine in 1807 with his brother. The engine was used to power a boat up the Saône River. A model of Niépce’s engine is in the museum. Also on display is a replica of a wooden bike that Niépce built. It’s possible to try and ride the bike!

Entering Saint-Loup-de-Varennes from the south, you see a large monument to Niépce on the right. It states photography was invented in 1822.

Niépce’s grave is in the village cemetery.


At A Glance

Price:
n/a
Adult €6, kids €3, students/unemployed €4.50
Hours:
Jul-Aug 10-7pm, guided tours on the hour, off season tours €150 1-25 people

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