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Parisian submarine


ponorka-1_180.jpgIts name is Argonaute, was constructed in Cherbourg and launched to the sea waters in 1958. An important event for Parisians, on October 10th 1989 the submarine arrived to the La Villette Park. You can identify it without problems close to the ball-shaped cinema Géode, reflecting the caprices of Parisian sky. Museum of this submarine Arganaute with complex listening equipments, acoustic torpedos, was open to the public in January 1991.

As mentioned in the outlet given to you when you buy the tickets, the submarine sailed 32 700 hours under the sea surface, more precisely in the depth of 200 metres, tponorka-2_180.jpgill 1982, never participated in the conflicts and made it 10 times around the world.

Although when walking along the Ourcq channel the anti-technical types can consider the submarine museum to be the least attractive point among the possibilities offered by the La Villette park, it is worth stopping by this black 50 metres long 450 tons heavy object (compared to the nowadays nuclear submarines weighing 14.000 tons it looks like a baby) and look at it also from inside.

Tight inside with hard life conditions of 40 sailors in the submarine during a ponorka-3_180.jpgseveral weeks sailing is almost unimaginable. The complexity of equipments, diesel and electric engines, controling boards impress even experienced engineers and the life conditions in the submarine remind you the meaning of the terms discipline and modesty. Even with a rich imagination we cannot imagine how 40 sailors could fit in this submarine. Sceptically you walk along the hanging narrow couchettes, water could be used only for drinking and cooking, washing was not possible, one small toilette was used by the whole crew, the cook made miracles in the space of 3 m² and when you walk through the captain part, suddenly everything becomes relative and the small table and a little more comfortable sleeping place look like a luxury.

After having seen the submarine itself, you access an exhibition which accoponorka-4_180.jpgmpanies you through the history of diving and the submarine technology. Among many interesting details you learn that in the Middle Age appear for the first time the ideas of constructing equipments able to go under the sea surface. At the end of the 15th century Leonardo da Vinci was working on the projects of submarine attacks, however the peaceful Leonardo destroyed all his military sketches. Napoleon was not very interested in the submarines, he did not use them against the English and in the 19th century begins the real development of ships sailing under the sea surface, however they still cannot becalled submarines. This invention belongs to the 20th century.

The exhibition shows the differences between the tough life in the Argonaute submarine and a comfortable life in the today’s nuclear submarines, equipped with dining room, relaxation room, gym and comfortable sleeping conditions giving the crew some privacy.

Maria Dopjerova-Danthine, Paristep