When I was a child, I loved the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, so I was confident I would also like the one in Paris — and I do.
The one in Paris is officially called the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie, with sciences in the plural and the word Cité to suggest that it is more than just a museum. The slogan Ça leur apprendra! (first photo) means That’ll teach ‘em!
Two other Paris museums use the word Cité in their names, namely the nearby music museum Cité de la musique and the architecture museum Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine. Another, the National Museum of the History of Immigration, also used to call itself a Cité, but later dropped the word after deciding it was causing confusion.
On school days the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie is visited by dozens of school classes, but they don’t get in each other’s way (or yours) because it is a huge building that is designed to handle crowds without feeling crowded.
Actually, the building was originally intended to be the main slaughterhouse of Paris, but it was never used as such, because with the coming of industrial refrigeration a slaughterhouse could be anywhere and didn’t have to take up valuable real estate within the city limits.
Permanent exhibits? Not really, because the sciences and industry are constantly changing, so the museum scrambles to keep up-to-date.
All the exhibits in the entire Cité have explanations in French, English, Spanish and Braille for the blind (French Braille, presumably).
The creative and constantly evolving transportation exhibit includes a model of a tram station, complete with a Métro entrance, bus stop and Vélib’ bikes.
My photos in this post are from 2012 and 2019. I revised the text in 2020.
See also: Palace of Discovery in Paris.