Palais de la Découverte

The Palais de la Découverte (pronounced pah-lay de la day-coo-vairte) is located on Franklin Roosevelt Avenue, just off the Champs Elysées. It’s a discovery museum for children, housed in part of the Grand Palais, which was built for the 1900 World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle).

I had to do a little research, actually, as I knew the Eiffel Tower had also been built around the same time, and was also created for a World Fair. However, the Eiffel Tower was built about a decade before the Grand Palais, and it was used as the entrance to the 1889 World Fair, held to mark the 100-year anniversary of the French Revolution. Though it was nothing new by the turn of the 20th century, the Eiffel Tower was still featured in the 1900 World Fair, along with the newly built Grand and Petit Palais, and the Pont Alexandre III. You can read more about the Grand Palais here, and the Eiffel Tower here.

Now, we visited the Palais de la Découverte before Christmas, but I haven’t had time to write about it until now. I must say that this turns out to be perfect timing, because Alison of Writing, Wishing will be coming to visit ME with her family!

Oh yes, I suppose Paris might possibly have something to do with her visit (yawn), but really you see what an influential blogger I am, right? People come from the Far East to meet me!

So the pressure is on. I need to find some kid-friendly, tourist-worthy destinations, and STAT. So here it goes.

Here is the magnificent Grand Palais from across the Seine. We’re on our way!

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It is such an incredible feeling to take a timeout from routine and do something as a family. The kids need this. We need this.

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Look! It’s Aslan (says William)! He imitates the cherub.

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And in we go.

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This is a science museum? The Grand Palais was meant to be torn down after the World Fair, along with the other related edifices, such as the Eiffel Tower. But just look at the details that went into building this thing.

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the iron stair railings

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the sculptures and moulding on the ceilings and columns

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looking up

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looking down

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We don’t spend that much time and effort on things that are meant to last for decades. It’s such a shame architectural beauty is so rarely considered essential these days.

palais de la decouverte27This place is kid heaven.

There are the beasts

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the human body

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light and telescopes

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motion and weights.

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There is stuff to listen to

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stuff to watch

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and plenty of places to sit down

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(whether or not a movie is in session).

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There are places where daddy and mommy’s help is indispensable

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and places where daddy and mommy are just as clueless as the kids are.

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This is the Pi room. And the classroom where smart people get to go. #munchesonpeanuts

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And there is really so much more – planets, power, electricity – you name it! If it’s related to science, it’s there.

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We left before meltdowns from walking and hunger could occur, and walked into early winter nightfall. See how the lights bring these paintings to life on the side of the building?

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Alison, I just know the discovery museum in the Grand Palais is one place your kids won’t want to miss. :-)

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Speaking of Alison, she and Greta host weekly photography linkups called “Through the Lens,” and last week’s theme was motion. These pictures from our day at the museum would have been perfect to link up, don’t you think?

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This week, the theme is the colour white –


our radiator at home, caught at just the right moment of the day for the sunlight to reflect off the white rows. Which of the two, do you think captures the white better?


If you’re a fan of photography, don’t forget to link up here.


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I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in France, Tourism
9 comments on “Palais de la Découverte
  1. Alison says:

    Jennie!! I AM SO EXCITED!!
    I believe we’ve marked this as a must-do in Paris, so thank you for the pictures and all the info. And it’s really near where we’re staying, so win/ win!
    I love your white photo. It really is similar to my white chair. :)
    Alison recently posted…Through The Lens Thursday #4: WhiteMy Profile

  2. Leigh Ann says:

    I can’t imagine putting that much time, effort, and detail into something you mean to tear down! It’s beautiful. I could look at those architectural details all day.
    Leigh Ann recently posted…finding a good after school routineMy Profile

  3. Jennifer says:

    We have a great children’s museum in Houston, and a group of people are raising funds to build one in my town as well. I think those types of museums are so much fun. I’m so jealous that you get to meet Alison in person, but I know that you two are going to have so much fun.
    Jennifer recently posted…Do More Than SurviveMy Profile

  4. Andrea says:

    Wow. That building is gorgeous inside; why didn’t I know it housed a children’s museum when mine were there? Clearly we need to make another trip. And soon, before they are no longer children. 😉

    So jealous that you are able to take a family day to PARIS. And that soon Alison will be there with you!
    Andrea recently posted…Don’t Be JealousMy Profile

  5. Galit Breen says:

    I love that your family time revolves around such history and beauty. *Swoon*
    Galit Breen recently posted…The good stuff right hereMy Profile

  6. heidi says:

    Yes! I am wholeheartedly agreeing with how we need that time. This is lovely – I am enchanted with the building and, well, everything. This just confirms that I must go to France.
    I also love your ‘white’ photo.
    heidi recently posted…who caresMy Profile

  7. This is awesome and I cannot wait to visit!
    tracy@sellabitmum recently posted…Snow DayMy Profile

  8. I’m planning a trip to Paris for my 50th birthday.(Because planning ahead takes the sting out of that particular milestone. Or makes it seem even closer. Either one.)

    If I can look forward to perhaps seeing you there?
    All the better.

    But that’s years from now. Surely our paths will cross before then.
    julie gardner recently posted…A Lady in FranceMy Profile

  9. Fabulous Photos & FUN w/ Family.
    Priceless)))!! Xxx
    My Inner Chick recently posted…Slices Of SoulMy Profile

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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