The munchkins and I took a day for yourselves and decided to visit the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie during our recent trip to Paris.
I've been to a lot of science museums over the years including Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland, and San Francisco and I have to say that this is one of the best science museums I've ever visited.
For the tourists, the vast majority of exhibits had copy in English so we were able to enjoy the museum despite not being fluent in French.
The museum itself was very reasonably priced. We went ahead and got tickets to two of the extra exhibits which were actually more than the normal price of admission.
The exhibits were engaging for the munchkins and interesting for myself (an engineer). One thing that I really noticed (and enjoyed) was that so many of the exhibits weren't just about science, but had an artistic angle. The robotics traveling exhibit was more about the art and aesthetics of robots than the actual technology.
They also had the standard fare of Earth sciences, astronomy, sound, light, etc. All done in a very interesting and hand-on manner to engage the munchkins.
This was an enjoyable and unique way to spend of our days in Paris. I would suggest that for a family traveling to Paris with kids it would be a fantastic diversion at the 1/2 way point of a vacation.
As a final aside, the second traveling exhibit was about the history of video games, which made me feel nostalgic and old.
You need a whole day here. Enjoyed the visiting.
This is one of the most tactile museums I've ever been to. It's enormous, with several sections devoted to different branches of science: biology, botany, mathmatics, physics, etc. But the content is not etherally abrstract; it's what is applicable to the ordinary person - the car you drive in, the food you eat, the innovative design of your home stereo system, etc. And as much as possible, the exhibits engage your sense of touch and hearing as well as sight. In addition to the numerous exhibits, there is a steady stream of seminars (various topics) held throughout the day in different locations. Anyone can join the audience.
The exhibits are quite accessible to tourists as well as the French, with most descriptions, explanations, and museum signs in English as well as Spanish. I was also impressed by consistent use of Braille signs and even some visual exhibits translated into a bas-relief pannel.
There is also a planetarium with five or so shows. The planetarium itself is quite comfortable and the projection was good, though I found the presentation about the solar system a little disappointing - lacking in interesting content. There is, however, the Geode movie theatre for more modern scientific films. There is also a submarine on the site, the Argonaute, open for touring. This is located in the lovely gardens behind the centre. On the lower floor, you'll find a small but nice aquarium next to one of the restaurants.
The Cité houses a large library stocked with science books, DVD/CDs and magazines/journals of all kinds. There are confortable tables and chairs for study, (and these are used quite regularly by local students and professionals). There's a kid's section to the library (as well as one in the museum proper).
The ticket price for one day is somewhat pricey, but for only four Euros more, you can have access for one full year. It's a good deal (for a local) as you can't do justice to all the exhibits in one day. The library is free, but you need to pay a reasonable annual fee borrow items. The Geode movies are extra, about 10 Euros a ticket.
The only reason I wouldn't give the Cité five stars is that, as big and impressive as it is, it's showing signs of wear and lack of maintenance. In one section I visited, about a third of the interactive displays were not working. In another section, several video screens were blank. There are tons of security guards on site, but maybe not enough curators?...hmmm.
This was actually one of my favourite museums which surprised me. Not that I knew what to expect. . Although I loved the Lourve, Musee D'Orsay and all the other museums were great, I was a little museum'ed out! As I had the Musuem pass I thought I would take the opportunity to go to the science Musuem. The best thing about this was the interactive bit which you got to touch, feel, see which made it such a fun place to learn (yes, learn! Even though I was on holidays...) about math, astronomy, innovation. The best part was the design house exhibition which was ideas about how buildings and people were going to live in the future. It was fascinating to see how things have changed to today's world and what the future would potentially look like. Ther crowd was varied with parents and their kids, lots of couples (maybe tourists? although they were all speaking French) , school kids jotting down notes. It was a great way to spend a few hours at a Musuem but it didn't feel like a Musuem per se. Do it if you have some time to spare and you want to do something a little different from the paintings and sculptures!
Good day out for children and adults alike. A short train journey from central paris brings you straight into the park. Some wonderful exhibits, lots of interactive ones. You will need a full day here to see everything. There are plenty of food stalls too and a nice little cafe bar next to the water feature. Cost is minimal to what you see and there are different packages and discounts to be had.
Have been going here with my children since they were 2 years old my 15 year old son still enjoys visiting the museum. Don't expect a 'museum' like the Science or Natural History one in London. This one seems to offer a different perspective to the UK ones I have visited more 'discovery' and 'thought provoking' than the bald statements of facts that we are used to in UK museums. It helps if you can read & understand French since, although there are multilingual signs & explanations, the French ones are clearer & you get more from the (very helpful) staff if you speak their language.
There are excellent special 'discovery' rooms for youngsters (under 11 if I remember rightly) which you have to book in advance they limit numbers so it does not get too busy. Our most recent visit coincided with a 'free weeked' but normally you have to pay you can generally pay on-line & collect tickets at the entrance. Having moved away from Paris, I am now out of date on costs, opening times & other details. Parking on site is ample. Food (despite being in France) is poor.
Recent up-grades include seats for two or more people to sit side-by-side when looking at or exploring an exhibit. This is a vast improvement, I had not realised how much my attention span was influenced by my comfort and ability to share views or access to information!
Site is indoors, although there are outside activites too & a 3D cinema.
The shop offers a selection of books and toys. There seem to be few toys of interest to teenagers more oriented towards under 10 years old while the books, with one or two exceptions, are in French and targetted to all ages.
Would & do return again & again!
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