Cité des sciences et de l’industrie: Where the heart of science beats
Text: Pierre Antoine Zahnd | Photos: PH Levy
Are you looking for exhibitions, activities and shows that will leave you with an incredible memory of your visit to Paris? Located in la Villette, one of the largest parks in Paris, the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie is a must-see! Far from being a specialised centre aimed at science geeks only, the ‘Cité’ is an inclusive space geared towards the needs and interests of one and all, adults and children alike. Its impressive infrastructure, emphasis on pedagogy, and wide-ranging cultural offerings make it a compelling part of any visit to the French capital.
Designed by Adrien Fainsilber, the architecture of the Cité is striking from the get-go, playing on the contrast between its monumental concrete frame and its glass façades overlooking the park. The edifice stands out not only through its sheer size, but also in that it provides a multiplicity of pathways to science. Built on a cooperation with the scientific community, its wide programme comes in the form of permanent and temporary exhibitions, events and a high-definition planetarium.
Among its various exhibitions, ‘Spies’ drives you to the core of the French Intelligence Services inside a classified case. Are you observant, analytical? Do you have a good intuition and reactivity? Well then, this is a mission for you up until August 2020! Robots displays genuine, functional robots and explores all facets of modern robotics. BR4IN, meanwhile, the famous permanent exhibition, offers new experiments to understand the functioning of the brain and to get to know yourself better. The ‘e-LAB’ explores video games in all its facets.
The Cité des enfants (the subsection focused on kids) offers two age-specific zones for children from two to 12 years old to exercise their scientific curiosity. Following the success of the Cité des enfants, the institution opened the Lab de la Cité des bébés, a similar space designed for babies under two years old. Conceived as a sheltering nest, it is geared around the well-being of very young children and their psychomotor and cognitive development. This unique experimentation is carried out as a collaborative workshop and out of upcycled materials from past exhibitions, and seems to be highly successful, as it tends to be booked out every day.
As one of France’s major scientific institutions, the Cité participates in global events such as the Festival of Science and the European Museum Night and also proposes a wide range of unique events: ‘Les Silencieuses’ et ‘les Éclatantes’, for instance, are series of evening events giving young adults a chance to rediscover exhibitions set to music in a more casual context.
The Cité des sciences et de l’industrie will definitely leave you with an indelible memory. Few museums in the world have gone to such lengths to present the cutting edge of science to the public.
Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 6pm Sunday: 10am to 7pm Closed on Monday www.cite-sciences.fr
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