Palais de la Decouverte museum in Paris
The Palais de la Decouverte is a science museum located in the heart of Paris within the Grand Palais that has a unique atmosphere and approach to the world of science that makes it more accessible to everyone.
About the Palais de la Decouverte Science Museum
When you look back at the history of the Palais de la Decouverte, it started out with very humble beginnings from the visions of Jean Perrin, who was a French physicist that won the Nobel prize for his work on the atom. And even though it was meant to be a temporary exhibition for the 1937 World Fair, due to its resounding success with Jean Perrin performing experiments in front of the public, or even getting visitors involved, it became a permanent science museum.
Today now, this museum in Paris still has the same ideas and approach to science that Jean Perrin wanted to and did achieve, by being able to present science to the general public in such a way that it was accessible to all, even for those of us who have little understanding of science.
The Palais de la Decouverte museum explores the fundamental principles of science that are required in order to try and understand the world around us in all its complexity by observing, experimentation and interpreting real phenomena.
And in this way the museum can make the most of its scientific expertise by training young scientists and post-graduate assistants, along with helping researchers and teachers develop their communication skills, which in turn means a better link between research, laboratories and the general public.
Therefore when you decide to visit this science museum while you are on holiday in Paris, you will discover a unique atmosphere and approach that will make you feel involved from the word go, like witnessing spectacular experiments and demonstrations.
It provides an opportunity for even those with very little understanding of science to learn more by connecting research scientists and scientific explainers with the visitors, so that they can observe in real time many different aspects of science and showcase how science is moving forward within the laboratory.
There are many different sections to discover that have opened up throughout the years and include nuclear energy, electrostatics, space and meteorology, thermodynamics, man and his food, electronics, computer science, radio astronomy, and many others, not forgetting that there are always temporary exhibitions held throughout the year as well.
But you also have the Planetarium that consists of a 15 metre diameter dome from Zeiss that reproduces a starry sky of exceptional quality and you will be able to observe galactic and extra galactic objects, celestial phenomena, view a different planet and much more.
It is here that sessions lasting around 45 minutes are conducted at set times each day and a speaker will provide an introduction to astronomy and explain various aspects of our universe, and these will always start with a descript of the sky that you can see for yourself that same evening.
There is also a cafe at the Palais de la Decouverte called Atmosphere that provides snacks such as salads that are a cost of between €5 and €8.50, club sandwiches, baguettes, Panini's and toasted sandwiches from around €5.50 upwards as of 2018. There are also the traditional French crepes with different toppings for approximately €4 along with desserts like cheesecake, muffins, cookies, apple crumble etc that again range in cost from around €3 upwards.
This cafe in Paris also serves hot beverages and cold drinks such as coffee, fizzy drinks and fruit juices, plus there is a Menu option for €10.50 as of 2018 with a choice of specific baguette a dessert of either chocolate mousse or fruit salad and a choice of drink.
And after discovering this science museum, if you want to add an even greater experience, then you will be pleased to know that since 2010 the Palais de la Decouverte has been a part of the Universcience group. So it is now linked with the Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie, which is the largest science museum in Europe, located within the cultural centre of the Parc de la Villette.
Access to the Palais de la Decouverte Museum
This museum is located in a part of the Grand Palais that is situated by the Avenue des Champs Elysees in the 8th Arrondissement of Paris, and is open on a Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30am through to 6pm and on a Sunday from 10am through to 7pm.
However, the Palais de la Decouverte is closed on a Monday and on all of the main National French holidays such as 1st May and 14th July and the cafe Atmosphere is open at the same times as the museum itself, but as we mentioned above, the planetarium is only open at specific times throughout the day.
The standard cost of entry as of 2018 is €9, with a reduced price of €7 for students of 25 years or younger, yet it is free of charge to children under the age of six and those that are registered disabled providing you have proof of eligibility.
But if you do wish to visit the Planetarium, then there is an additional charge of €3 per person, however, children under the age of six are not allowed into this section, plus we would like to point out that some of the temporary exhibitions also incur an additional charge of around €2 extra per person.
Now when it comes to accessing the science museum, this is actually very straight forward due to its location within the heart of Paris and the nearest Metro stations are either the Champs Elysees - Clemenceau stop on lines 1 or 13, or alternatively you have the Franklin D Roosevelt stop on line 1 or 9 a little further walk away.
The nearest RER train station is at the Invalides stop serving the RER C, which is on the opposite bank of the River Seine, plus there are also several buses that stop nearby to the Palais de la Decouverte including the lines 28, 42, 72, 63, 73, 83 and 93, along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via lines N01, N02, N11 and N24.
Not forgetting the tour buses in Paris such as l’Open Tour will get you close to this science museum, as will the Batobus, which is the water bus that does circuits up and down the River Seine with docks at strategic places to acess famous tourist attractions.