L’Aquarium de Paris: The Cineaqua in Trocadero
Some things are delightful, regardless of where they happen to be. Good coffee, fresh baked bread, or a beautiful sunset are something to be enjoyed wherever in the world you happen to stumble upon them. It was with that sense, then, that of all the ways to spend a morning in Paris I was informed that we would be going to the Cineaqua Paris aquarium given the opportunity.
There are two aquariums in the city (Cineaqua at Trocadero and Aquarium Tropicale at Porte Doree) and another not far from town (Aquarium Sea Life Paris at Val d’Europe), but for a tourist in town the Cineaqua is by far the most convenient. Located in the Trocadero Gardens, this is just moments away from the Eiffel Tower AND one of the most popular overlooks in the city for taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower.
As far as aquariums go, this is not the best I’ve ever been to (a nod which goes to Osaka, in fact). There are plenty of interactive displays and the cool interior was a nice escape from even Paris’ heat, but somehow it didn’t wow me the way others have.
Part of that feeling is, perhaps, that L’Aquarium de Paris feels much more oriented to kids than adults. There are a bunch of shows throughout the day, but they’re all pirate themed or puppet shows and mostly in French without any kind of translation. None of that comes as a surprise really, but it does make it slightly less attractive for adults who are thinking about a visit.
The real wow moment, no matter how old you are, is the Shark Tank. They have one of the largest tanks in France with 25 sharks inside, and the best place to view them is in a walk-through tunnel with the tank overhead.
We spent probably 20 or 30 minutes sitting on one of the benches there paying equal attention to the sharks themselves and to the reactions of the people who pass through – delight shone on almost every face that walked by. There are plenty of other smaller tanks with interesting (and photogenic) species throughout the aquarium, but other than the ‘petting tank’ none seemed to evoke quite that same strong reaction.
So I’m not saying don’t go, exactly. Whether as a full-on family or a couple who hasn’t visited an aquarium together before, the Cineaqua Paris definitely has its highlights. Just go with the proper expectations.
I was in Paris to work as a photographer with GetYourGuide, including my visit to the Paris Aquarium. You can see the (frankly not very useable) aquarium de paris’s official website here for a look at times for their shows (which seem to be exclusively in French). The price is actually slightly cheaper than booking online directly through the Aquarium (which charges a €.50 printing fee per ticket), and if you’re booking for four adults further discounts are available. Regardless, if you buy online you can avoid the queue at the entrance.
Budget travelers will want to check out these hostels in Paris for cheap accommodation. The nearby Trocadero metro station is easy to reach from any part of town.