French National Museum of Natural History

The French National Museum of Natural History, known in French as the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (abbreviation MNHN), is the national natural history museum of France and a grand établissement of higher education part of Sorbonne Universities.

The main museum, with four galleries, is located in in the 5th arrondissement in Paris (France), on the left bank of the river Seine, within the Jardin des Plantes.

It was formally founded in 1793, during the French Revolution, but was begun even earlier in 1635 as the royal garden of medicinal plants. The museum now has 14 sites throughout France.

Since the 2014 reform, it has been headed by a chairman, assisted by deputy managing directors. The Museum has a staff of approximately 2,350 members, including six hundred researchers. It is a member of the national network of naturalist collections (RECOLNAT).

The National Museum of Natural History has been called “the Louvre of the Natural Sciences.” Its largest and best-known gallery is the Grand Gallery of Evolution, located at the end of the central alley facing the formal garden. It replaced an earlier Neoclassical gallery built next to the same by Buffon, opened in 1785, and demolished in 1935. It was proposed in 1872 and begun in 1877 by the architect Louis-Jules André, a teacher at the influential École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. It is a prominent example of Beaux Arts Architecture. It was opened in 1889 for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889, which also presented the Eiffel Tower. It was never fully completed in its original design; it never received the neoclassical entrance planned for the side of the building away from the garden, facing Rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire.

The facade of the building was designed specifically as a backdrop for the garden. The facade facing the garden is divided into eleven traverses. Ten are decorated with sculpted medallions honouring prominent French scientists associated with the museum. The central traverse has a larger marble statue of a woman seated holding a book, in a pose similar to that of statue of Buffon facing the building. The statues are the work of Eugene Guillaume, a pupil of the sculptor Pradier.

Address: 57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, France

Working Hours:

Saturday 10 AM–6 PM
Sunday 10 AM–6 PM
Monday 10 AM–6 PM
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 10 AM–6 PM
Thursday 10 AM–6 PM
Friday 10 AM–6 PM

Phone: +33 1 40 79 56 01
Founded: June 10, 1793.

See more:

20 arrondissements of Paris

Architecture of Paris

Museums of Paris

Entertainment in Paris

Bridges in Paris

Parks in Paris

Streets and squares in Paris

Shopping in Paris

Transport in Paris

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