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.

 

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.

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