Posted in Go out in Paris le 10 September 2020
Located under the hill of Chaillot, the Paris Aquarium is the heir to the oldest aquarium in the world, formerly called "Aquarium du Trocadéro" which had been built for the Universal Exhibition of 1867. Jules Verne was even inspired by this aquarium for his novel "Twenty thousand leagues under the seas".
With its two aquariums, one marine and the other freshwater presented on the Champs-de-Mars, the Universal Exhibition of 1867 reinvented the concept of the aquarium and transformed it into a theater of aquatic life in configuring it as a cave in rocky vaults where fish could hide from the eyes of visitors. This new realistic setting contrasted with the public aquariums set up until then in zoos. These were designed as galleries in a natural history museum, or even as a succession of tubs showing visitors different species of fish.
The aquarium was dismantled at the end of the exhibition, but the aquatic spectacle in the cave setting aroused such enthusiasm that the idea was taken up for the Universal Exhibition of 1878. The hill of Chaillot was chosen for the implantation. of the construction that would accommodate freshwater fish. The aquarium built on the project of the Belgian architect Eugène Combaz used the abandoned site of the old stone quarries to build, located on the hillside. It was integrated into the decor of the gardens designed by Jean-Charles Alphand and included part of the open sky and another underground imitating a cave with a rock covering. The aquarium was then transformed, embellished with a rotunda and modernized for the 1937 exhibition.
Closed in 1985 due to obsolescence, it is a totally metamorphosed aquarium that reopened in 2006. The old aquarium was completely demolished. Only a few exterior elements such as the fountain were kept and renovated identically in order to respect the original appearance of this classified site. Today, the Paris aquarium contains 4 million liters of water in 74 basins and is home to 13,000 freshwater and saltwater fish and invertebrates including 38 large sharks and 700 coral colonies. After 3 years of work, the Paris Aquarium inaugurated its medusarium in 2019, the largest in Europe, with a collection of 50 species presented in 25 pools in rotation. Enough to be hypnotized by these poisonous creatures!
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