Guide Tour of Paris Aquarium, France

Paris Aquarium is an aquarium located under the hill of Chaillot in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. It was built in 1867, making it the world’s first aquarium. The Aquarium de Paris offers a unique journey to discover the ocean, meet 13,000 fish and invertebrates from all the seas of mainland France and overseas, including 38 large sharks, 2,500 jellyfish and 700 coral colonies.

Located under the Trocadéro gardens, the Aquarium de Paris is the ancestor of all the aquariums in the world, since it was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1867. Long known as the Aquarium du Trocadero, it was closed in 1984 for dilapidation, before reopening to the public in 2006 after a complete reconstruction. It welcomes 700,000 visitors a year.

The aquarium is home to 500 animal species of fish and invertebrates, and features approximately 10,000 non-vegetable specimens. The Polynesian tank has 750 corals. The large basin contains 38 sharks of seven different species in 3 million liters of water. The Medusarium, which hosts the largest jellyfish exhibition in Europe with 50 species presented in rotation in 25 pools.

Paris Aquarium is the second largest artificial pool in France, with a total of 5.3 million liters of water are divided into 43 basins and large aquariums, of which the 160,000 liter Aquastudio presents a show with a mermaid, it is the second largest basin in the aquarium with its 34 cm thick glass and a weight of 24 tons.

The Paris aquarium was imagined in 1867 and laid out in the disused quarries according to the project of the architect Combaz, near the Universal Exhibitions of Paris. Since 1931, the aquarium at Trocadéro, with 2,500 fish exhibited in 380 million liters of water, was then the largest aquarium in the world. In the 1980s, it was still the largest in Europe.

The original aquarium is partly built in the open air, partly built underground, imitating a cave with cement rockwork; it is laid out in eighteen basins between the pillars of the old galleries, on the circumference of two concentric ellipses. Welcoming freshwater fish, it is a private initiative that has met with great success. It is transformed and modernized for the, even if it still only accommodates water fish soft and has a constant renewal of water.

The city of Paris closed the aquarium in 1985, It was then rebuilt in 2006. Some elements of its decoration are inspired by the work Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne who, in turn, was inspired by the aquarium of the 1867 exhibition for certain elements. January 2019, opens a medusarium which houses 2,500 specimens belonging to 45 species of jellyfish in 24 pools.

The Paris Aquarium presents 38 large sharks of 4 different species in the largest 3 million liter tank (blacktip sharks, gray sharks, nurse sharks, zebra sharks), the tank also houses smaller sculpin sharks. This diversity gives an overview of the great variety of sharks, both in terms of their size, their shape and their mode of reproduction.

The Paris Aquarium is developing several conservation programs aimed at understanding and ensuring the reproduction of sharks in captivity (blacktip, zebra shark, etc.). The sharks at the Aquarium de Paris are fed three times a week. They eat an average of 2 kg of food at each meal. Whole squid, mackerel, capelin and hake fillets are distributed to them. Regularly, biologists from the Aquarium de Paris dive into the large pool to maintain it and to check the good health of the residents. They are also subject to regular veterinary monitoring.

The Médusarium: Jellyfish
Belonging to the cnidarian family, like coral, jellyfish are composed of 98% water, have no hearts or brains and are present in all regions of the globe. Their dance is fascinating, bewitching… Jellyfish are familiar to us and yet they still keep many secrets.

Discover the largest Medusarium in Europe, the Paris Aquarium present 2500 jellyfish of around fifty different species, presented in rotation in 25 basins. Our biologists are now experts in the maintenance and reproduction of these extraordinary animals.

The Medusarium is a scientific feat. The Aquarium de Paris reproduces more than 50 species of jellyfish and this number increases regularly, thanks to international partnerships. 25 species are presented in rotation. For each presentation basin, five basins are installed in the laboratory, part of which is visible to the public.

The Aquarium of Paris has jellyfish specialists in its teams, who are able to control the salinity and temperature parameters of the water, the currents of the basins, as well as the diet of the jellyfish at the different stages of their development, from the polyp to adulthood. An essential precision work, because each species has specific needs.

The Medusarium illustrates the fascinating beauty of these animals, whose size varies from a few millimeters to 50 centimeters and life expectancy from a few months to 2 years at most. For a long time men had to make do with drawings or photographs to discover and admire jellyfish. The Aquarium de Paris presents their hypnotic ballet in 25 pools. Their pulsation, with the sandstone of the current, is never identical. The slow swinging of their filaments, more or less long depending on the species, is magical.

Discover 700 coral colonies and the ecosystem they build at the Paris Aquarium. Corals, the greatest living builders of our planet. They are reef-building corals. Primitive, colonial animals, whose basic unit is the polyp, a kind of anemone. Coral reefs around the world could cover an area equal to that of France. Coral is therefore an architect. And these constructions are the main habitat of 90,000 other (identified) species, ie a third of all known species in the marine realm.

At the Paris Aquarium, three basins have been developed and each present a specific mangrove ecosystem in Guyana (Amazonian basin), Mayotte and Futuna (in the Collectivity of Wallis and Futuna in the South Pacific, off the coast of New Caledonia).

The mangrove is formed at the meeting point of the land, the river and the ocean. Very dynamic but very fragile ecosystems develop on these humid, brackish stretches of land, submerged by the tides, characterized by the presence of unique vegetation: mangrove forests, between the roots of which an abundant life develops. Essential for humanity, mangroves must be preserved and restored. They provide immense benefits to coastal populations: food security, effective barriers against the onslaught of the ocean amplified by climate change, storage of carbon dioxide, etc.

Discover the scientific and environmental exhibitions during a Parisian outing in the magical setting of the Paris Aquarium. An informal environmental education institution, the Paris Aquarium aims to raise awareness among its visitors of the issues affecting marine ecosystems. To do this, it organizes fun and educational activities adapted to all its audiences. The issues of climate change are its common thread, as are the major issues arising from anthropogenic pressure on the environment, pollution of the ocean or issues of responsible management of fisheries resources.

The Aquarium of Paris places contemporary art as a formidable vehicle for raising public awareness of the environmental perils, approach resonates with the issues we are highlighting are presented. Art and science meet at the crossroads of intelligences and sensibilities in an ambitious artistic journey that can combine installations, sculptures, street-art and photographs.

The Paris Aquarium is an informal environmental education institution. It regularly offers temporary exhibitions around major environmental issues, with a scenography suitable for children. Visitors can learn while having fun and discover by surprise with their favorite characters or mascots, staged around the basins of the Aquarium of Paris, all along the route.