Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle

Latin Quarter

Detail of Grande Galerie de l'Evolution in Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle.

Krzysztof Dydynski

Despite the name, the National Museum of Natural History is not a single building, but a collection of sites throughout France. Its historic home is in the Jardin des Plantes, and it's here that you'll find the greatest number of branches: taxidermied animals in the excellent Grande Galerie de l'Évolution; fossils and dinosaur skeletons in the Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie Comparée; and meteorites and crystals in the Galerie de Minéralogie et de Géologie.

Created in 1793, the National Museum of Natural History became a site of significant scientific research in the 19th century. Of the three museums here, the four-floor Grande Galerie de l’Évolution is a particular winner if you’re travelling with kids: life-sized elephants, tigers and rhinos play safari, and imaginative exhibits (including a virtual reality room, reserve; €5) fill 6000 sq metres. The temporary exhibits are generally excellent. Within this building is a separate attraction, the Galerie des Enfants – a hands-on science museum tailored to children aged from six to 12 years.