This natural history museum was established in 1793, under the supervision of two celebrated naturalists, George Louis Lerclerc, Count of Buffon, and Louis Jean-Marie Daubenton. Originally (and still) an academic research institution, this temple to the natural sciences contains a series of separate museums, each with a different specialty. The biggest draw is the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, where a sort of Noah’s ark of animals snakes its way around a huge hall filled with displays that trace the evolution of life and man’s relationship with nature. Another intriguing hall, the Galerie de Minérologie et de Géologie, includes a room full of giant crystals, and another with eye-popping precious stones from the Royal Treasury, as well as various minerals and even meteorites. For dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, ancient humans, and thousands of other fossilized skeletons, repair to the Galeries de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie Comparée. The Muséum’s Galerie des Enfants (children’s gallery) offers hands-on interactive displays for little tykes. Except for the Grande Galerie, which has a joint ticket deal with the Galerie des Enfants, you’ll have to pay for each Galerie separately.
- Anna Brooke