The Paris Aquarium (also known as Cinéaqua) is a world class festival of the sea. One of the oldest aquariums in the world – it was built in 1867 -, it has more than 10,000 creatures who call its depths home. Featuring mermaid shows, an aquatic cinema and a shark basin stacked with the apex predators, this is an incredible way to add a deep blue dimension to your trip to the center of Paris.
The Paris Aquarium embodies the late-19th-century passion for scientific exploration. Every major city had to have an aquarium, and as Europe’s leading urban light, Paris’s had to be the best. Decorated like it stepped out of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, this particular bowl of fishes is as rich with history as it is in aquatic life.
10,000 fish swim in 4 million liters of water, with tanks holding aquatic life from far-flung tropical locales, as well as from closer to home. In fact, the first section is full of carp, sturgeon and roach swimming in a re-creation of the nearby Seine.
The recreated seas of Tahiti and New Caledonia swarm with fish of all colors: angel, clown and triggerfish jockey for position, as they dart among rock and coral. The scale is awe-inspiring; it’s not surprising that this was once Europe’s largest aquarium.
The show stealers, however, are the sharks. Four species of these predators of the deep never fail to elicit squeals from the kids, and nervous laughter from everyone else.
The aquarium also has two large screens that show aquatic documentaries, live feeding demonstrations, and a touchtank, where kids can get their hands on some slippery ornamental fish.
At the end of your visit you’ll emerge into one of the most beautiful parts of the city. Eiffel Tower at your elbow, the Champs-Élysées at your back, and the whole city at your fingertips. Off you go, there’s more to explore.