Under the Sea!
The Tropical Aquarium at the Palais de la Porte Dorée was created in 1931, as a part of the "Museum of French Colonies" that was created at the same time. The aquarium was intended to be a showcase of the aquatic fauna of French colonies. However, as time went on and anti-colonial sentiment increased among the general public, the museum's popularity began to waver.
In 1960 the museum transitioned into a showcase for the African and Oceanic arts. Although not specifically linked to the museum's new mission, the aquarium had become an integral part of the space and so it was maintained. In 1980 the building of the museum itself — constructed during the art deco period — became the object of attention and a renovation was undertaken to restore the historic structure. Thanks to this convergence of different arts, cultures and anthropology, the museum grew in reputation throughout the 1990s. In 2003, the Musuem of African and Oceanic Arts left the historic Porte Dorée building in order to be integrated into the brand new Quai Branly museum.
Throughout all of these developments the Aquarium was kept open, and now visitors can discover over 5000 water animals coming from 300 different species. Sharks, crocodiles, eels, jellyfish and a large variety of saltwater and freshwater fish of all sizes occupy the aquarium tanks. The space is relatively small for an aquarium, but its size and lighting give the collection a curiously old-fashioned feel that makes for a charming visit. The contrast between the dark corridors and the brightly colored tanks is pleasantly surprising. Plus, a few remnants of the exhibition from the old Colonial Museum have been left behind, adding a quirky historical element to this lively environment.
Aquarium tropical de la Porte Dorée
293, avenue Daumesnil - 75012 Paris
Metro: Porte Dorée
Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. until 5:15 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. until 6:45 p.m.
+33 (0)1 44 74 84 80