A unique and surprising museum to visit near Bordeaux: The National Museum of Health Insurance

Lormont
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A unique and surprisi ...

In Lormont, the Château des Lauriers houses a unique and very original museum in France. If you are told "on your way to visit the National Museum of Health Insurance " , at first glance you would not be particularly enthusiastic, and yet! It is an absolutely fascinating place, with a well-designed, interesting museography and above all, it is a necessary subject, more than contemporary. Far from clichés, let's enter this elegant castle, to learn more about a subject that concerns us all, from which we French were the first to benefit and which many envy us: effective social protection, based on solidarity , citizenship and equality.

Photos and videos of the article © National Museum of Health Insurance

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A museum in a castle? But why?

This seems surprising to you and yet there is a good reason for the establishment of the National Museum of Health Insurance at the magnificent Château des Lauriers in Lormont. This domain, whose construction dates from 1860 and which consists of a castle, a park planted with various species that are now 100 years old and facing the Garonne, has been the property of Assurance Maladie since 1948. At the end of the Second World War, it is the birth of Social Security as we know it today, with the ordinances of October 4 and 19, 1945.


Laurel castle Laurel castle
Museum Hall Furniture and old objects

At this time and with the intention of developing, the Social Security needed premises and invested in “ Social Castles ”, which became rest and convalescent homes for patients (often tuberculosis in these times). The Château des Lauriers was acquired with this in mind, but its configuration made it unsuitable for its function, so it was left aside in favor of the construction of another nursing home. In 1989, it became a museum , with 4 exhibition rooms which retrace the history of social protection from Antiquity to the present day. Antiquity? Yes and even more, because the key word of this exhibition and of the values that it makes so tangible, in the discovery of all these collections of objects , is solidarity! In 2004, the Museum became national and there are now 9 exhibition halls.


Old truck

Healing and caring for each other

It has become so obvious to us that we forget the origin of social protection. Long before 1945 and the birth of Social Security, solidarity as well as other values such as equality and citizenship are already part of our DNA. Since Man has existed, has he not understood the importance of implementing collective mutual aid, for his survival and the good of his loved ones? We are all equal in the face of illness and it is in this united vision that social bosses (who gave money to their workers when they had their first child) as well as mutual aid societies are the first fruits of our fantastic health coverage. At the instigation of the National Council of Resistance, the right to Social Security is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is a global first, France is the first country to adopt this type of system of health protection. The best in the world, since at the time, in 30 years we raised the average lifespan of the French by 15 years!

Old poster Showcase with old documents
Health insurance counter


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The visit of a didactic and modern museum

A visit to the National Museum of Health Insurance allows everyone to become aware of the challenges of the present, by shedding light on the past . It is a duty of remembrance and transmission, making it possible to raise awareness of the challenges of social protection also among the youngest.


Vital card poster Ship model

Pass the door of the Castle and follow the ambassadors: the hostesses of Social Security, a function that was created in the 1960s by the Ministry, to give a more human face to Social Security. Because even at that time, yes, it already had its small reputation for austerity with endless papers to fill out... A complex operation which can be explained by the importance and the height of its missions! Through archives, photographs, furniture and equipment, we navigate from one room to another with interest and having fun with a vocabulary that we all know very well (but sometimes without really knowing what that means, let's face it!): vital card, user fee, health cover, work stoppage, contributions, risks, CPAM, old age, illness, prevention...


Ambassador Old magazine poster

The museum visit is… Free! For everyone, all the time. The museum team, supervised by its dynamic Manager Emmanuelle Saujeon-Roque, has prepared a visit booklet for adults but also children (2 different booklets given to reception). In season and for school groups, theatrical tours are offered, with the help of a local theater company (the Compagnie du Sûr Saut). Beautiful costumes, in the vintage and old atmosphere of the furniture, in the heart of this sumptuous castle, it's a treat!



Visits last from 1h30 to 2h. They are done out of season by reservation, Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tours for groups of 8 to 30 people are also possible. Consult the website of the National Health Insurance Museum (french) to find out more precisely the opening hours and days.


Library Museum of Sickness Assurace Health Insurance Museum


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To access the museum: take Tram Line A, direction La Gardette, Mairie de Lormont stop. Then, continue on foot for 400 m on the Carbon-Blanc road. Or take the bus Line 32, stop Maison de convalescence. It is located 20 minutes from Bordeaux and access is possible for people with disabilities.

We wish you a pleasant visit to this original and interesting museum, you will enjoy taking your family there and telling your loved ones what you have learned there!


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