Palais de la Decouverte science museum at the Grand Palais in Paris

The Palais de la Decouverte is a science museum found within the Grand Palais in the heart of Paris which has a very different, yet unique, way of showing and allowing people to discover science to help everyone understand it.

The history of the Palais de la Decouverte is a somewhat unlikely beginning, with the French physicist, Jean Perrin, who won a Nobel prize for his work on the atom, thought up the idea of a unique museum. And although his envisions of the museum was only meant to be a temporary exhibition for the World Fair in 1937, the amazing success of his experiments being performed in front of the public as well as letting visitors take part, it was decided to be changed into a permanent science museum, so many more could enjoy the science and learn.

Nowadays the museum in Paris stays with the same ideas and approach that Perrin wanted to achieve with his idea, to allow many people to access and gain an understanding of any type of science, even those without much prior knowledge of science to the general public.

The Palais de la Decouverte gives many different opportunities and different ways to understand the Earth and the things around us by experimenting, observing and evening interpreting real phenomena.

The museum also takes excellent use of the facilities and things it has to hand by managing to create a solid foundation and link between young scientists, post-graduate assistants and even to help researches teachers and more to help develop their communication skills, scientific findings and improve their knowledge, and help the link between them and the general public.

If you wish to visit the museum when on Holiday in Paris you will find both a welcoming atmosphere as well as a unique one, where you can find many amazing experiments and demonstrations taking place to help you feel part of science from the minute you enter the museum.

Also for those who are not as knowledgeable in the science area this museum in Paris works with the visitors by connecting research scientists and scientific explainers so they can explain as they go along what is happening in many different scenarios to help maintain an understanding of what is going on and to help visitors learn.

There are also many different areas and sections to explore around at your own leisure to see and understand, ranging form but not just including space and meteorology, electrostatics, nuclear energy, man and his food, thermodynamics, electronics, radio astronomy, computer science and much more, not forgetting the temporary exhibitions which also take place during the year for even more variety.

And yet there’s more; within the Grand Palais and the Palais de la Decouverte, the Planetarium which consists of a 15 meter diameter dome from the company Zeiss than reproduces the star-filled night with exceptional quality, allowing you to see and experience galactic and even extra galactic objects, celestial phenomena, view other planets and much more which is just one of the great tourist attractions in Paris.

The Planetarium has set shows throughout the day which last about 45 minutes, with a speaker to provide an introduction to astronomy and explain different aspects of the universe, which always start with the view of the sky as can be seen that very same night, which if you are lucky and it is a clear night you might just be able to!

In addition to the fantastic works and exhibitions when you look back at the history of the Grand Palais there was the idea for a café, and recently that has been realised, so you can have a break and have a snack such as a salad, sandwich, baguette as well as something for those with a sweeter tooth like cheese cake, muffins and cookies. But not forgetting they also serve both hot and cold beverages such as coffee, juices and more.

Also in addition to all of that, since 2010 the Palais de la Decouverte has been a part of the Universcience group, meaning it is now linked with the Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie which is the largest science museum in Europe, and one of the most well known museums in Paris which is within the Parc de la Villette.

The science museum is part of the Grand Palais that is found on the Avenue des Champs Elysees in the 8th Arrondissement of Paris, opening from all days except for a Monday, from 9:30am to 6pm and on a Sunday which the times change to 10am to 7pm. This does not include French National holidays, eg 1st May and 14th July, where the museum is also closed. And this cafe in Paris as we mentioned before opens at the same times as the museum.

Due to the situation of the museum it is very easy to access the museum from the RER station at the Invalides stop on line C, nearby bus stops which include numbers 28, 42, 63, 72, 80, and 93 not forgetting the bus tours in Paris which also stop nearby or at the museum.


Cite des Sciences science museum in Paris and the Geode cinema are the largest in Europe

The Cite des Sciences is an all round popular museum, being the largest science museum in all of Europe and the fifth most visited museum in Paris, joining other popular museums such as The Louvre, it makes it an amazing museum to visit which is suitable for all ages and types of interests.

There are some permanent exhibitions at the museum which allow you to be interactive with the museum such as within the Techno Gallery, where you can play the latest games, test prototypes, discover robots and much more.

Another exciting area is the Images exhibition, where you can include yourself within a TV advert, manipulate pictures and more. Other exhibitions include the light exhibition, outer space, satellite, along with enabling you to be able to discover optical illusions, test new sound devices and much more to stay entertained.

Yet even young children are also catered for with a designated area just for them with interactive displays and organised activities available daily, yet teenagers will also be in their element and come away from this museum after having fun and learning or discovering new things to fuel their imagination.

But forgetting the Cite de Sciences et de l’Industrustrie for a minute, you cannot forget the Argonaute submarine, which is just outside, and being a real submarine that served within the French Navy until it was decommissioned, it eventually became an unusual tourist attraction in Paris to visit. This allows many people to visit the submarine yearly and get to see how the marines used to live and work by venturing into the crew stations, torpedo launching area, the radar detectors and much more.

In addition you also have the amazing Geode Cinema which is a very shiny sphere outside which holds a cinema inside and features one of the largest cinemas in the world. And the Geode Cinema In Paris is one of the most visited cinemas in France, but also the largest hemispherical screen in the world showing large format movies.

At first glance the attraction may be seen as more of an intriguing structure rather than a cinema, with its perfectly smooth and circular shape it can act just like a mirror. But it is not to be underestimated at the equivalent of 12 storeys the building can easily tower over you, and the structure in itself is a technological feat with 1,580 bars of steel tubes comprising together to make the structure, and the whole Geode can weigh in at around 5000 tonnes.

For Omnimax films the experience is like no other with the whole screen being able to be occupied by a film it can reach 10 times that of a normal cinema, yet when digital images are shown they can also be up to 25 metres wide which is far beyond the field of vision for the viewer, making you feel like you are part of an image instead of just watching it.

The geode is a fantastic way to end a day, or start it! But with anything you can get peckish, or want a meal while you are out, which the Cite des Sciences wishes to accommodate easily with many different choices available to suite all tastes and budgets.

The first restaurant, Le Hublot Restaurant serves traditional French cuisine at your table and offers a wide choice of dishes to have, and even including that of a three course meal, which is located at the second level of this incredible museum in Paris.

The Cafe de la Cite is an internet cafe in Paris with an option to have both take away and eat-in with various internet points and microwaves available.

Aux Pains Perdus Sandwich Bar, as it says in the name is a sandwich bar which serves both hot and cold food, also located on the second level allowing you to enjoy many sandwiches, snacks, desserts which again you can eat there or take away.

The Bar du Forum and the separate Bar des Lumieres are perfect for a quick coffee stop or to grab an ice cream for children, allowing you to have a short break if you are on either the first, or second floor without a problem.

Among other things there are the little extras you can find at the museum to use to your advantage to help make your time spent at the Cite des Sciences even easier.

Firstly there is a cloakroom where you can leave coats, bags and more which are available for individual visitors and groups completely free when you show your ticket to the museum. Additionally there are also wheelchairs and push chairs which can be borrowed.

For shows within the Planetarium which is all about space there are free audio guides for the sight impaired individuals available in French, English, German, Spanish or Italian. And in the main hall there is also a scale model of the cite de sciences designed for the visually impaired which talks when you touch it to help those understand where they are more so.

Lastly, but not least there is a gift and book store located in the main hall where you can purchase many various items including that of games, souvenirs, magazines, catalogues, science experiments and much more suitable for all people of all ages.

So as you can tell, a visit to the Cite des Sciences along with the Geode and the Argonaute submarine, which are all located at the Parc de la Villette, can make a fun packed day out while you are on holiday in Paris. Not forgetting that there are also other tourist attractions here as well, such as music venues and the Cite de la Musique with its concert halls and museum.