Museum National d’histoire Naturelle
This museum would have to be the most spectacular and stylishly arranged natural history museum in the world.
Slip away from the busy Parisian streets and into a sanctuary of grand proportions.
Be prepared for ‘wow’ to escape your lips and to be awestruck and dazzled as you enter this tranquil and informative museum.
What you won’t find here is hoards of tourists lining up for hours to enter. Instead, you will find young, well behaved children, dwarfed by giant elephants, sharks and zebras, learning about the wonders of life as their parents marvel at their excitement.
You may observe students as they quietly sketch a kangaroo or the detail of a tiger’s paw, crouched on the floor in concentration.
The ambient lighting, the magnificent building and the thoughtfully curated displays sets this museum apart from others.
Personally, I enjoyed the entire experience from the moment I entered the grand old building.
The magnificent glass ceiling changes colour and the bank of orange light cleverly blocks out natural light to protect the specimens but at the same time offers a wonderful visual feast with captivating silhouettes as patrons explore.
With no line up, I breezed straight in.
The security staff, noting that I had a camera tucked inside my bag, advised me of their no flash policy. I went straight to the counter, bought my ticket and let myself in via a turnstile.
Practical and efficient. It was that simple.
The National Museum of Natural History is actually made up of 14 buildings around France, four of them, located in Paris with three of them in close proximity to one another, within the Jardin des Plantes:
The Gallery of Mineralogy and Geology, The Gallery of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology, which was thrown into the lime light in 2010 with the release of the movie; The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, inspired by the 1970’s graphic novels. If you have seen the movie you will remember the opening scene of a pterodactyl egg hatching and the bird escaping through the magnificent glass roof.
The Great Hall of Evolution.
It does not consist of boring aisles of glass cases displaying specimens but a dramatic stampede of stuffed animals.
A small elephant nestled beside a larger elephant leading the pack, followed by the likes of rhinos, giraffes, deer, birds flying overhead and small dung beetles.
The museum, four storeys high within with elaborate wrought iron balconies overlooking the grand parade of animals offers views from all angles.
Dinosaur bones suspended from the ceiling makes for a great entrance.
The marine life on the lower level shows the wonders of the underwater world and will no doubt plant seeds to inspire a new generation of our future marine biologists.
As I often find with museums in Paris, they don’t seem to take themselves too seriously; a little humour, a little quirk here and there can be found.
For example, this giraffe poking his head over the fourth floor balcony, peering down onto the stampede, as if to ask … what is going on down there!
I found this museum, not only interesting for it’s exhibits but also for it’s grand and innovative transformation of an ancient building to suit the purpose, of a permanent exhibition, yet still respecting the architecture.
If you are interested in design, architecture, lighting or natural history, you are bound to find this museum of interest.
If you have young children and want to escape long lines of tourists at the popular galleries and museums, Museum National d’histoire Naturelle should be near the top of your list when visiting Paris.
The museum is situated in Le Jardin des Plantes, now known as the main botanical gardens of Paris, covering 28 hectares but in the 1600’s, was known as the Kings Gardens famous for it’s medicinal herbs.
The pretty surrounding greenhouses attract local green thumbs and are also worth visiting.
If you have found this information interesting or useful, please thank me by leaving a comment or following me here on facebook for daily tips, photos and anecdotes. Your feedback encourages me to keep this site up to date. Merci!
Paris Adèle’s Information Necessaire :Museum National d’histoire Naturelle – Official Website 36 rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire Paris 75005 Nearest Metro: Censier Daubenton, Jussieu, Gare d’Austerlitz Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm – Closed Tuesdays Galeries d’Anatomie comparée et de Paléontologie – Official Website 2 rue Buffon Paris 75005 Nearest Metro: Gare d’Austerlitz, Censier Daubenton, Jussieu, Gare d’Austerlitz, RER C Gare d’Austerlitz Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm, Monday- Friday. 10am-6pm Saturday and Sundays. Closed Tuesdays Walking Directions from: Museum National d’histoire Naturelle to Galeries d’Anatomie comparée et de Paléontologie MAP Disabled Visitors: Deaf and Partially Blind, Hearing Impaired, Intellectually Impaired, Disabled Mobility – link Please note all museums in Paris are free to Disabled visitors and one guest with proof/letter. Generally, there are separate entrances. Galerie de Minéralogie et de Géologie The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec – wiki-page The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec – movie trailer
Explore Paris’ Parks and Gardens and more Museums, choose a category below:
- Musée Jacquemart-AndréI love poking around former residences of the bourgeois and Musée Jacquemart-Andre is one of the finest you will see in Paris.
- Maison de Victor HugoNestled in a corner of Place des Vosges, is the former home of famous author of the Hunchback of Notre Dame; Victor Hugo.
- Musée Nissim de CamondoA splendidly elegant mansion and former home of the Camondo's with an evocative, unforgettably tragic family history.
- Musée des Arts ForainsTransport yourself back in time. Ride spectacular antique carousels, play ancient fair-ground games and admire colourful memorabilia.
- Musée de la Vie RomantiqueTucked away behind an unassuming green gate, you will discover this enchanting hôtel particulier. An absolute delight.
- Fondation Louis VuittonNothing short of spectacular, offering panoramic views and modern art, this new museum is sure to become another Paris icon.
- Petit PalaisNot as small as its name suggests. Elaborate ceiling murals, magnificent mosaics, grand staircases a pretty garden café and it is free.
- Muséum national d’histoire naturelleThis museum would have to be the most dramatic and stylishly arranged natural history museum in the world. Be dazzled in awe ....
- Musée Cognacq-JayThis stunning home of Samaritaine Department store founder, Ernest Cognacq-Jay and his wife Marie-Louise Jay, includes Fragonard, Rembrandt, Cézanne ...
- Musée de la Chasse et de la NatureThis wonderfully, quirky, informative, interactive museum, doesn't take itself too seriously. Exploring the history of hunting.
- Musée BourdelleFormer home and studio of the artist; Antoine Bourdelle, who was famous for his monumental public statues and friezes, is an exceptional free museum.
- Musée ZadkineThe small sun drenched former home of Ossip Zadkine allow light to bounce off African influenced work, giving the museum a quiet sense of calm and elegance.
- Musée RodinThe newly renovated mansion and former home of the artist, has an equally rich and inspiring history as Monsieur Auguste Rodin himself and then there are the gardens.
- Maison La Roche – Foundation Le CorbusierAt the end of a leafy private lane is an iconic tribute to the architect of modern architecture.
- Musée CarnavaletLocated in the heart of the Marais, this museum is dedicated to the history of Paris. Boasting 600,000 pieces, ranging from the 17th to 20th centuries.
- Palais de TokyoContemporary and cutting edge exhibitions of modern art, a very chic restaurant, late night openings until 12am and a great view of the Eiffel Tower.
- Musée d’OrsayThe former railway station, sitting on the left bank of the Seine, has the largest collection of impressionist and post impressionist art in the world.