Cite des Sciences Paris Museum of Science and Technology

Located in the area of La Villette on the north-eastern corner of Paris is the Museum of Science and Technology, otherwise known in French as Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie. Ironically, it is built on and with the remains of the Grande Halle of the old abattoirs in La Villette. The government gave it multiple tasks such as being a place of civilisation, education, widening knowledge, social progress and debate. Its doors were opened to the public in March of 1986 and it has not looked back since.


Cite des Sciences - Paris Museums

The day it opened, March 13th 1986, was fortuitously marked by the passing of Halley's Comet. About 40 million visitors have gone through its doors since it's opening, while about 3.5 million visit it annually. This number is the highest for any cultural establishment in Paris. Thanks to its geographical location, some of these visitors continue on to other places and museums in the area. In the Parc de la Villette measuring around 35 hectares, it is close to the 6400-seat Zenith concert hall and the Cite de la Musique.

Picture of the dome at the museum

Soon after the last ox was slaughtered in 1974, decisions were made to redevelop the site. It took until 1979 to begin the changes. The main proponent of this vast project was the architect Adrien Fainsilber. His ideas were based on a relationship between the Cite and the park. He based it on three themes: water, plant life and light. The first one is represented in the artificial river surrounding the main building, the second in the three bioclimatic greenhouses facing the park, while the third in two domes 17m in diameter brightening the exhibition. The content of the exhibitions were developed between October 1985 and March 1986, while the Geode was opened in May 1985, wherein you can find France's most popular movie theatre and entirely devoted to large scale films on its 1000 square metre hemispheric screen.

A close up of the dome

There are so many components in the Cite des Sciences that one is hard pressed to choose a few to describe. Scale Models, industry, medicine, history, photography, sciences and technology are all covered in the ome museum. A joyful and fascinating one is the Cite des Enfants that offers 4000 square metres of activities and discoveries. Children can come here with their parents or teachers for a hands-on approach to science and technology through experiments, observation and play. The Planetarium, in the centre of the Cite, can hold up to 300 people under its dome. Over 10000 stars and 9 planets can be shown on its screen and thanks to over 100 projectors in a 'starball' that is in the centre of the room, a global image is created. In the Cinaxe, you get the experience of 3D films, but it seats only 56, so come early. Another charm is to see the 1950s embodiment of French naval pride as the Argonaute that weighs over 4000 tons and has gone around the world ten times.

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