Episode Seventy Three – Basler Papiermühle

Hello again.


Well, posting those pictures a couple of days ago reminded me of how much I’ve missed being here. So even though it’s late and I don’t have a lot to say today, I do have some photos that I took several months ago in Basel when I visited the paper museum there. As you know, I have a bit of a thing for paper and books and things, so the day before I left Strasbourg to come home to Edinburgh, I hopped on a train and went to Switzerland for one more look at the beautiful town of Basel and this fascinating museum.

Other museum-goers’ creations, hanging up to dry

The production of paper in Basel's paper museum

I have a feeling this would be a really awesome job. Just look at that pristine pile of paper next to her! I want to fall asleep on it.

The inside of the museum was a little confusing to navigate, but it was fascinating and beautiful. I loved that we had the opportunity to get our hands dirty and make some paper ourselves, using the big vat of mush and a special frame for sifting the pulp.

My new friend sifts paper pulp in the hands-on part of the museum

I made a new friend – a fellow English-speaker – as we negotiated the complex process

They had separate floors for the paper-making process itself, different writing materials through the ages, writing systems such as hieroglyphics, the Roman alphabet and Korean character construction; and finally, bookbinding. Unfortunately I arrived too late and the museum was closing by the time I made it to the top floor, so I missed that section. Next time, though!

Old-fashioned mangle for drying paper

Can you imagine what books must have cost back when they had to use this kind of machine to make each sheet of paper by hand?

Early books displayed on the second floor of the paper museum

Early forms of paper and various writing systems were on display

I have to say, I really did love Basel. It’s the only place in Switzerland I’ve ever visited, but it has me intrigued to know more about the country. The shops are exquisite (unfortunately the price tags are exquisite too), the streets are clean, the air is crisp and fresh, and it just feels good to be there.

The regional flag of Basel

This is the insignia for the city of Basel, and it appears everywhere. They have a lot to be proud of!

I only ever managed day-trips to Basel, as overnight stays were far too expensive, but from Strasbourg it was a short enough journey that that was totally possible, with a little planning. It is true what they say about things being incredibly expensive in Switzerland, so I would recommend taking your own picnic if you were to go for the day, and maybe a Thermos too, as a coffee will set you back about 7 CHF. Better to save it for museum entry! Although, in fairness, it’s a beautiful place just to take a stroll, completely free of charge.

Handmade paper from Basel, Switzerland

Answer me honestly: is it weird that I could look at shadowy pictures of plain sheets of paper all day?

That’s all for today – just a few pictures I took a long time ago back when the sun came out for more than 8 hours a day and when I could hop on a train for €30 and go to Switzerland for the day. It’s funny – I’m still in Europe but for some reason the UK seems so much further away…

Hope you’re all well and oh look – it’s tomorrow already! Happy Hallowe’en everyone!





Filed under France

5 responses to “Episode Seventy Three – Basler Papiermühle

  1. Amanda Stubbins

    That’s so cool! WHY DIDN’T I GO.

  2. Paper making has always fascinated me. I’ve tried to do it a few times and loved every part of the process. :-)

    • Me too! I bought a cheap paper-making kit when I was little but a) it could only handle greeting-card sizes and b) my paper mush never seemed to be up to par. The paper I got to make at this museum was divine! (But now I appear to have lost it…)

      Thanks for your comment! :D

  3. Pingback: 16: Christmas Decor and Paper Works, among others. | Almofate's Likes

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