Sprawling on the edge of Paris-Le Bourget Airport, Le Blanc-Mesnil was first mentioned in the 11th century. It flourished in the early 20th century with the establishment of public housing and is believed to be named in reference to the flour dust that once whitened its houses.
Things to do in Le Blanc-Mesnil
On the edge of Paris-Le Bourget Airport is the Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace, which was established in 1919 by the aeronautics engineer, Albert Caquot. It is one of the oldest aviation museums in the world, with more than 150 aircraft on display, alongside artefacts dating from the 16th century. See a Concorde prototype and Soviet-built rockets, then get up close to the jettisoned main landing gear from L’Oiseau Blanc.
Want to stretch your legs? Head to the leafy walking trails of Parc Jacques Duclos, which sprawls across the north of Le Blanc-Mesnil. It is planted with mature trees and centres around a large swimming lake that transforms into a beachside resort in the summer months. Parc Jacques Duclos is a popular destination for local runners and dog walkers and hosts family-friendly events throughout the year.
On the southern edge of Le Blanc-Mesnil is the Memorial de la Shoah, which is built on the site of a World War II internment camp. It now serves to educate visitors about the tens of thousands of French Jews who were deported from Drancy to Nazi extermination camps. Permanent exhibits are displayed within its museum designed by Swiss architect Roger Diener.
Getting around Le Blanc-Mesnil
Le Blanc-Mesnil is around 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Paris and 15 minutes from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Regular trains connect to Le Blanc-Mesnil railway station and buses travel throughout the commune, connecting most of its attractions.