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Welcome to the Palais de la découverte

A Science Centre in a historic monument!

When this great museum was founded by physicist Jean Perrin in 1937, his aim was to “bring science to life in the centre of Paris” by focusing on hands-on experiments and spectacular demonstrations. 
With a daily programme of some sixty presentations linked to its exhibitions and events, the Palais de la découverte continues to play the same role today, allowing every kind of visitor to get to grips with science in a vivid and exciting way.


Physics is presented in a dozen different rooms that cover every sphere of this science, from Newtonian mechanics to particle physics, electricity, acoustics, and much more. Visitors can perform a wide range of experiments themselves.

Earth sciences

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, tsunamis, droughts... Here, geoscientists explain the natural phenomena that threaten so many lives today. And life in the past? Fossils can tell us a great deal about dinosaurs and the human origins.


Aside from the planetarium, three areas are devoted to astronomy. The Sun and Planets area presents our knowledge of the solar system. Next to it, the History of Astronomy area looks back at the science’s development from the Babylonians to the 17th century, while the Cosmology balcony provides a comprehensive overview  of the latest theories on the universe.


Mathematics is an extraordinary, expressive and living science as you will find out by attending to one of our workshops or presentations. The latter takes place in the π room, where you will be surrounded by its famous endless sequence of digits.

Life sciences

Covering the key fields of human biology from anatomy to genetics. Another area is devoted to animal communication showing how each of the species presented has its own way of communicating with others – using sight, sound, touch, electricity and even chemicals.


Chemists conduct real experiments to explain chemical phenomena observed in everyday life or in laboratories.

Computing and digital technology

New! A new area dedicated to the unravelling of machines, algorithms, coding and data, the four cornerstones of information technology. Big Data, artificial intelligence, robotics and networks ... all digital sciences that rely greatly on the I.T. sector.



Sessions last 45 min.

Under a dome 15 meters in diameter, a starry sky is reproduced with exceptional clarity: 9,000 stars, five planets, the Sun and the Moon. The audience is guided around the night sky by an astronomy expert, who explains a range of observable astronomical phenomena.
Sessions at the Planetarium are available in French only


Length: 50 min.  In French only.

Live experiments with explanations by scientific facilitators from our seven major departments:
Astronomy, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Computing and digital technology.
Ask for a program of the day’s activities at the reception desk.
Presentations are announced on screens situated on the ground and first floors.

Palais basics

Learn the secrets of the Palais in just one hour!

Ground Floor

Electromagnetism: A coil that contracts on its own!
Electromagnetism: What makes the lamp filament vibrate?
Do queen ants lay eggs? Use the microscope to observe a queen surrounded by tiny workers. What are their jobs?
Tactile communication in spiders: how do spiders use the phenomenon of vibration to communicate?
Rats’ school: how rats carry out various tasks and find a route through a maze

First Floor

The Sun and planets: see a real piece of moon rock!
The Sun and planets: the solar system above your head!
Light: what happens if we make ‘invisible’ light visible?
The Pi room presents the first 704 decimals of the number Pi, all accurate.  
Human biology: inside the glass man – observe veins and arteries,  
and measure your blood pressure.
Optics: an intangible bottle.
Geosciences: enjoy a 3D view of the Earth.

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