Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (Science Museum)

for Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie

Paris is home to the biggest science museum in Europe – Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. Located in Parc de la Villette in Paris, this museum is definitely a tourist and local hotspot (five million visitors a year), focusing on promoting science and culture. The building was constructed in 1986, and features areas for all ages, and designated areas just for kids.

Area’s of the museum include:

  • The library of science and industyr
  • City of Children
  • Explora
  • Auditorium
  • Planetarium
  • City of careers
  • City of health
  • Aquarium
  • Picnic area
  • Restaurants
  • and more!

Expanding on the City of Children (Cité des Enfants), this is an area with hands on demonstrations of science principles. This section is divided into two age specialties:  2 to 7 year olds, and 5 to 12 year olds. Children can experiment with water conduct, buildings, a maze, robots, news broadcasting, and much more.

The Explora levels are the basis exhibits for the museum. Here you can explore space, automobile technology, sound, genetics, and much more. The aquarium and planetarium are also well worth a visit, but they may cost a bit extra to enter.

To learn more, or make reservations to visit, you can visit www.cite-sciences.fr or call  08 92 69 70 72. Admission is 12 Euros.

 

Should you buy a Paris museum pass?

paris museum pass

If you are planning to visit two or more Paris museums during your trip to Paris – who has hundreds of great ones –  then you should consider purchasing a Paris Museum Pass. Here are some advantages you’ll get when purchasing the pass:

  • Can be purchase in increments of 2, 4, or 6 days
  • Gives you free and unlimited access to over 60 museums and major monuments in Paris and surrounding regions, including but not limited to:  the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou, the Rodin Museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral Towers.
  • You don’t have to wait in any lone lines, of which there can be many, because the pass gives you priority entry.
  • Prices are very reasonable: 2 days = 50 Euros, 4 days = 79 Euros, and 6 days = 109 Euros. (Please note these prices are subject to change at any time, but these are currently accurate as of the writing of this article.)
  • You have a full year to use the card – buy it in Spring when the weather is nice, and wait to use it until December when it’s colder.
  • You get a pamphlet with your pass purchase giving details on each of the museums – great to take along as a reference during your museum visits .

Now, you can buy the museum pass at a few different places. Here are some of the easiest and most common places:

  • Purchase Paris Museum Pass via Rail Europe here
  • Paris Tourist Office:
  • 25, Rue des Pyramides, 1st arrondissementMetro: Pyramides or Opera Tel.: 08 92 68 30 00
  • Espace du Tourisme Ile de France
  • At the Carrousel du Louvre shopping centre 99, Rue de Rivoli, 1st arrondissement
  • Metro: Louvre-Rivoli or Palais Royal/Musee du Louvre

Need further convincing? Here’s some reviews from goparis.about.com:

“My entire experience with the Museum Pass was positive. One of the keys to maximizing the benefit of the pass was planning which sites we were going to see within the 6 consecutive days the pass could be used. Make sure that planning includes verifying that the site is open on the day that you are planning to visit.

The cost to purchase individual tickets for all of the sites we visited would have been more expensive than the Paris Musuem Pass. We were also able to bypass a few long ticket purchasing lines and get directly in the queue to enter the site.

There are so many sight-seeing options in Paris. The Museum Pass also helped us to narrow the options for a portion of our trip. The Museum Pass provides access to many of the key attractions.”

 

“I am disabled, so the ONLY thing bad was on MY part. I simply couldn’t do any days in a row.

It would be MUCH better if you could spread out the days!

But with the pass I was able to explore smaller museums at my leisure. For example the Louvre and Versailles were madhouses! But Monet’s water lilies was a quiet and contemplative museum…same with Rodin and others,

vive la pass,

but let me use it on separate days!!”

 

“We purchased six-day museum passes at Sainte-Chapelle last fall on our first visit to Paris. The passes more than paid for themselves, and what I really liked about having the pass was that we didn’t have to think twice about whether we had enough euros or a credit card handy each time we entered a museum. The pass was a wonderful convenience!”

 

“We love the museum pass in Paris! It offered us freedom and flexibility to visit more museums, but not feel the obligation to spend an entire day at each one. The only downside was that we did feel like we had to cram the museum visits into the 3 days the pass was purchased for.

We are taking our kids to Paris soon and will be purchasing passes upon arirval. We’ll be able to visit multiple museums without feeling guilty if the kids have had enough.”

 

Five Activities for Kids in Paris

paris carouselFinding kid-friendly activities while on vacation anywhere can sometimes be a challenge. Paris is an extremely kid friendly city, there’s no doubt about that. The only challenge that may present is on Sundays, as a good bit of everything is closed, as with many areas throughout Europe. Parks dot the city with kid friendly and clean equipment, though, so Sunday’s aren’t a complete loss. If you’re looking for something a little more exciting and organized, however, we’d love to share our five favorite things this month to entertain the kiddos while vacationing in Paris.

Cité des Enfants

Cité des Enfants

This is a great children’s museum that’s easy to lose track of time in. They have exceptionally well designed play areas for children of all ages. They even have a special section for 2-7 year olds, and another section for 5-12 year olds. Buying tickets early is recommended, as the museum can get rather crowded and tickets sell fast.

Ice-skating

Ice-skating

Out of many wonderful things in Paris, there’s also the unique fact that between the months of December – March, ice skating rinks are set up in several places around the city. You can find them at Montparnasse tower, Place de l’Hotel de Ville, and others. You and the kids will certainly have a blast skating around town and taking in the breathtaking views.

The Palais de la Découverte

The Palais de la Découverte

A fabulous museum geared towards children 12 and under and focused on the wonders found in science. The 19th century building it’s located in is gorgeous, and was actually built originally for use during the World’s Fair. Everything is in French, but the visuals and interactive activities are so well done that no language need be understood.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg

If you make your way to the southwest corner of these beautifully landscaped gardens, you’ll find an area that is completely devoted to kids. It’s 1,50 Euro to enter and features play equipment for the kids to enjoy, and the famous carousel. You can also grab an espresso for 1 Euro and sit under shade trees and relax a bit. You may even catch a puppet show.

Jardin d’Acclimatation

Jardin d’Acclimatation

This children’s park was originally built in the 1900’s, but has been continuously updated with neat rides and activities over the years. Kids will love the ‘petit train’, jungle boat ride, the zoo, the sprinkler, and of course all the junk food available on the boardwalk.

Musée national de la Marine

Musée national de la Marine

The museum’s history all begins with  a collection of models of ships and naval installations that were offered to Louis XV by Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau. With the offering, he made the request that the collections be displayed at the Louvre and be made available for students of the Naval engineers  school to view. The collection was put on display in 1752 at the Louvre, next to the Academy of Sciences section, and was called “Salle de Marine” (Navy room).

Unfortunately, during the French Revolution the Navy Room was closed and the models were added to the King’s personal collection, with some also being given to the Ministry of Navy and other executors. In 1810, Napoleon ordered a gallery of 19 models be put on display at Grand Trianon in order to document the types of warships in usage in the French Navy during that time. In 1827 with the Bourbon Restoration, Charles X ordered the Naval museum be reopened at the Louvre. The collection became rather large, with new models being added and commissioned throughout the years and through different conservators of the Naval museum. Finally in 1920 the administration of the collection was passed on to the French Navy made the Naval museum a part of the Palais de Chaillot.

Here’s some examples of models you can expect to see when touring the Musée national de la Marine:

Musée national de la Marine 2 Musée national de la Marine 3 Musée national de la Marine 4 Musée national de la Marine 5 Musée national de la Marine 6 Musée national de la Marine 7

 

Petit Palais

petit palais

The Petit Palais is located right near the Champs-Elysees and houses a remarkable 1,300 works  and masterpieces through the 20th century. The Palais is a striking bit of Parisian architecture, with wrought iron entrances, elaborate cupolas, and colorful murals. It was actually inaugurated in 1900 for the World Exhibition along with it’s neighboring Grand Palais.

Permanent exhibits of the museum are divided into sections. First is the Dutuit Collection, which features medieval and Renaissance  paintings, drawings, and other objects. Then there is the Tuck collection which features 18th century furniture. Lastly, the City of Paris section displays a collection of paintings by such artists as Rembrandt, Rubens, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Gellée, Fragonard, Hubert Robert, and Greuze.

Petit Palais 2

The museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission to view any of the permanent collections is free to the public, and only the temporary exhibitions will call for a ticket charge. Making this a great and inexpensive thing to do while in Paris.

Musée d’Orsay

Musée d'Orsay

This spectacularly beautiful museum is located right along the left bank of the Seine river. Formerly the Gare d’Orsay, a railway station built between 1898 and 1900, the museum contains French 19th century art, sculptures, paintings, furniture, and photography. It is most well known for its collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces – actually the largest in the world.

berth morisot painting musee d'orsay

The museum officially opened in July of 1986, after the initial delivery of its 2000 paintings, 600 sculptures, and other items. Some very important artists’ artwork is featured in the museum, such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. For instance, over 86 paintings by Monet are held here, including the Blue Water Lilies painting. Vincent Van Gogh has 24 paintings here, and Degas 43 paintings.

For more information and ticket prices, please visit www.musee-orsay.fr. Tickets usually run about €5.50

Complete List of All Paris Museums

Paris is home to over 70 museums within the city limits – that’s quite a bit. For your touring reference, here is a list of all of them and their corresponding websites (if available).

Musee Carnavalet: A History of Paris

Occupying two mansions, Hotel Carnavalet and Hotel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau, the Musee Carnavalet is a great free museum to visit during a stay in Paris. It was purchased by the Municipal Council of Paris in 1866 and opened to the public in 1880. The focal point of this historic and beautiful museum is to educate on the history of Paris.

Upon entering the courtyard leading into the museum, you are greeted by a statue of Louis XIV:

Once inside, the amount of historical items housed in the Carnavalet is astounding:

  • 2,600 paintings
  • 20,000 drawings
  • 300,000 engravings
  • 150,000 photographs
  • 2,000 modern sculptures
  • 800 pieces of furniture
  • Ceramics counted in the thousands
  • And much more, including decor, models, reliefs, signs, coins, souvenirs, etc.

You can really get a feel for the great Parisian history in this museum. However, since there is so much to take in, which can often be overwhelming, here are some noteworthy items you’ll want to catch:

  • An entire reconstruction of the room in which Marcel Proust wrote In Search of Lost Time
  • Napoleon’s favorite case of toiletries
  • A painting of the contruction of the Statue of Liberty while it was being built for the US
  • The Cradle of the Imperial Prince, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Marie Antoinette’s personal items
  • The Tennis Court Oath, A famous incomplete painting portraying an important even in French history when members of the National Assembly swore a very emotional oath that they would not disband until they had passed a “solid and equitable Constitution”, painted by Jacques-Louis David
  • Long and narrow canoes made from a single tree trunk. These date back to the first written description of the village Lutetia in A.D. 52
  • 4th century bottle used to hold perfume
  • Paintings of the women beheld as the most beautiful woman in Paris at one time, Madame de Sevigne

The mansions themselves, before conversion, also have a unique and interesting history. The Hotel de Carnavalet was ordered into contruction in 1548 by Jacques de Ligneris, who was the president of the Parliament of Paris. It was completed in 1560. It was purchased then in 1578 by the widow of Francois de Kernevenoy. Then in 1654 it was purchased by a well-known architect, Francois Mansart, who commissioned extensive renovations. Interestingly, Madam de Sivigne also resided in the hotel from 1677 until 1696.

The second building, Hotel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau was also built in the mid-16th century. Originally known as the Hotel d’Orgeval, it was first purchased by Michel Le Peletier and then passed on to his grandson, Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau. De Saint Fargeau was a representative of the nobility in the Estates General of 1789 and voted for the execution of Louis XVI, then was murdered in revenge of his vote on the same day Louis XVI was executed.

If you’re interested in finding out more information on visiting the hotel, please visit their website: http://carnavalet.paris.fr/en

Musee Grevin: History in Comical Wax Form

Yes, you definitely need to check out the Musee Grevin while in Paris because over 400 celebrity wax characters is something not to be passed up. The wax likenesses are absurdly accurate and lifelike, and who wouldn’t want to get an up close view of such greats like Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and much, much more?

We’ve got a little treat for you in this featured This Week in Pictures, though it’s nothing like seeing them in person. Enjoy!

Wax Celine Dion

 

Wax Albert Einstein

 

Wax Jackie Chan

 

Wax Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

Wax George Clooney

 

Wax Bruce Willis

 

Wax Harrison Ford

 

Wax Marilyn Monroe

 

Wax Ray Charles

 

 

 

 

 

Musee Picasso



The Musee Picasso is located in a beautiful 17th century mansion called Hotel Sale. Located on rue de Thorigny in the Marais district, the Hotel Sale is was built between 1656 and 1659 for a “tax farmer” who became wealthy off his collections of taxes on salt, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the district. The mansion changed ownership through the years, when it finally settled on hosting the artwork of Pablo Picasso in 1976 and was converted and restored by architect Roland Simounet after he outbid 3 other contractors.

The Musee Picasso houses over 3,500 paintings, drawings, ceramics, wood sculptures, metal sculptures, and sketchbooks.Most of the pieces of art were donated by family members or from Picasso’s personal collection, of which he always said “I am the greatest collector of Picassos in the world.”, however a great number of collection was also either purchased from or donated by miscellaneous collectors. Also included within the museum are artworks by other artists such as Degas, Matisse, and Rousseau, which were in Picasso’s personal art collection.

The set up of the museum follows a chronological sequence for the most part, however there are a few rooms dedicated to certain themes. Also found within the museum is a great collection of photographs, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, and other things all relevant to Picasso. One room of interest also contains the caricatured work of period artists displayed. Special exhibitions are also held from time to time on the museums 2nd floor.

Unfortunately, the museum is currently under renovations and will not re-open until 2013 (you can view their memo here). However, they did organize for a series of pieces to be displayed around the world in the meantime. The show you can still catch this year is:

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Canada – April 28 – August 23, 2012

Over 200 works are also on loan to several museums in Paris and surrounding areas. These museums include: National Museum of Modern Art – Centre George Pompidou, Orangerie Museum, and Museum of Modern City Art Paris.