Want to dive into the seabed and discover the aquatic fauna? Discover the best aquariums in France!
Aquariums plunge young and old into another universe: that of the seabed. Seahorses, clownfish, jellyfish, sharks… Explore the variety of the aquatic world in its natural environment.
In France, there are more than fifty basins where you can admire the marine fauna and flora. To help you choose, Travelvibe has put together a guide to the best aquariums in France. The Big Blue is at your fingertips!
The 10 Best Aquariums In France You Should Visit
1. The aquarium of La Rochelle
Close to the old port, the aquarium of La Rochelle is one of the largest in Europe. With its 12,000 fish, including 600 species, the Aquarium of La Rochelle attracts more than 800,000 visitors each year, making it the most visited aquarium in France.
This fantastic aquarium transports you to the heart of the world’s oceans: Caribbean, Atlantic, Pacific, Red Sea, etc. You will be captivated by the “Gallery of Lights during your visit.” Immersed in the dark, you will see the different marine species light up on your way.
In addition to its tourist activity, the aquarium of La Rochelle represents a privileged place for scientists who specialize in maritime culture. The study center and the care center for sea turtles promote the protection of species.
If you spend your holidays in Charente Maritime, do not hesitate to visit this one of the best aquariums in France. You will not be disappointed! Visit with your kids to have an unforgettable experience.
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2. The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
Discover one of the best aquariums in France, Monaco! This museum of the sea, founded by Prince Albert I in 1910, was designed as a real palace of science and art. An entire room has been dedicated to the Prince’s career as a navigator.
No less than 4,000 species are present in this oceanographic institution. The objective is to preserve the ecosystem by limiting any withdrawal from the marine environment. It is one of the largest aquariums in France.
For this, the aquarium has a coral culture and a nursery. Every year, many births are recorded.
The Monaco Sea Museum offers several activities to its visitors. You can touch the starfish in the touch pool and even feed the different fish and other invertebrates.
ImmerSEAve 360° transports you totally into the marine world thanks to virtual reality headsets.
The objective of these activities: is to immerse yourself totally in the Big Blue.
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Head to Hauts-de-France, and more precisely Boulogne-sur-Mer, to discover one of the best aquariums in France. Every year, it attracts 850,000 visitors to explore the secrets of the marine world.
The National Center of the Sea of Boulogne-sur-mer is the fourth-best aquarium in the world. In total, it includes 1,600 species.
Nausicaá invites you to explore two distinct universes:
● Travel on the high seas: here, you face the immensity of the oceans. You will discover sharks, turtles, clownfish, surgeonfish, moray eels, and many other species;
● Shores and people: the objective is to privilege the relationship between man and the marine world. For this, a tactile basin has been installed. You will be able to touch the starfish and other fish presents.
Entertainment is also planned, such as the training of sea lions or fish meal. UNESCO has also awarded the center the Label of Excellence for its fun and educational work.
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Located in Brest, the Océanopolis offers you a scientific approach to the marine world.
The center is divided into four pavilions:
● Polar: between the Arctic and Antarctic, discover a colony of penguins and seals from the Far North;
● Tropical: head to the warm seas of the tropics to find many colorful species, coral reefs, or sharks;
● Brittany: the Breton coasts present exceptional biodiversity that is presented to you in this dedicated space. Observe the sea calf seal, the Aurélie jellyfish, the European lobster, and even the depths of the abyss;
● The Otter Trail: the sea otter and the European otter are represented in an identically reconstructed environment.
In addition to these basins. Océanopolis offers its visitors various explanatory supports. Videos, interactive terminals, and panels provide information on how the marine world works. Visiting the Océanopolis is an opportunity to take full eyes while learning about the maritime ecosystem.
Océanopolis also has its clinic. Each year, they treat about twenty species stranded on the beaches of Brittany. Once healed, they are put back at sea.
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5. The City of the Sea
The Cité de la Mer is one of the best aquariums in France. Located in Cherbourg in a former ferry terminal, this underwater museum takes you on a fun scientific journey.
The maritime center has the deepest basin in Europe, with a depth of 11 m. You will discover the Polynesian seabed and the richness of the biodiversity that inhabits it: blacktip sharks, clownfish, surgeonfish, etc. You will be amazed by the colors that emanate from the bottom of the oceans.
In total, more than 1,000 tropical fish live in this abyssal space. And if you are afraid of sharks, rest assured, a 33 cm thick window separates you.
The Cité de la Mer also offers a gallery of submarines. It is on board these exceptional crafts that oceanauts from all over the world have been able to explore the depths of the sea.
You will also discover the French nautilus or the American Alvin that traveled the wreck of the Titanic in the late 1980s. For an unforgettable experience in France, you can definitely visit this largest aquarium here.
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6. Planet Ocean Montpellier
Go to Montpellier to visit Planet Ocean. This aquarium presents you not far from 400 marine species from all over the world. With its 24 pools, Planet Ocean guarantees you a total change of scenery.
Escape to the seas of Polynesia or the Mediterranean, and even to the Amazon. Planet Ocean Montpellier is one of the largest aquariums in France.
The old Mare Nostrum Aquariumin the touch pool will immerse you totally in the Big Blue. A storm simulator introduces you to marine life in harsh climatic conditions. Another underwater exploration simulator transports you to the abyssal depths.
Planet Ocean has a theatre with panoramic views of the seabed. Many other activities are planned to promote man’s interaction and to feed with the maritime world: a tactile basin to touch the rays, a virtual meeting with the sea lions, and providing a colony of penguins.
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7. The Grand Aquarium of Saint-Malo
The Grand Aquarium of Saint-Malo welcomes you for an exploration of the seabed. With 11,000 fish and invertebrates representing 600 species, the aquarium welcomes more than 350,000 visitors. You can have an utterly unforgettable experience visiting this place on the weekend with your family.
Several animations immerse you in the open sea:
● Nautibus: this submarine transports you to the marine world;
● The abyssal Descender: descend even lower into the depths of the abyss with this descent simulator.
You can also go behind the scenes of the aquarium by offering your children the opportunity to care for the animals in the center. For a day, your toddlers will follow in the footsteps of an audiologist.
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8. Sea Life from Paris Val d’Europe
One of the best aquariums in France is close to the capital. This is the Sea Life located in Marne-la-Vallée.
Discover more than 350 marine species from all over the world, from the French coasts to the heart of the Atlantic, via the tropical seas or the Great Barrier Reef.
Among the fish present, observe several seahorses, balloon fish, piranhas, rays, Cha sharks, etc.
Sea Life has a particularity: several ancient fish live there to enjoy a quiet retreat.
Besides observing the marine fauna, your visit to the Sea Life in Paris will also be an opportunity to witness the turtles’ feeding.
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9. The Seaquarium
For more than 30 years, the Seaquarium of Grau-du-Roi has been the first shark aquarium in France. The sharkarium is entirely dedicated to the most frightening maritime species within it. You will find shark exhibits, a 360-degree tunnel, and an observation walkway on the program. But you will also discover all the secrets of sharks.
In addition to sharks, the Seaquarium is home to many fish and invertebrates. Admire sea lions and seals in their environment, tropical and Mediterranean fish of all colors, or turtles.
An Imaginarium has been set up to promote interactions between man and the sea. The goal is for visitors to question all the beliefs surrounding the maritime world.
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10. The Océarium du Croisic
Opened in 1992, the Océarium du Croisic welcomes fish from all over the world; Cape penguins, Sharks from Australiainteraction and raysRays from the Pacific, and of course, seahorses from the Atlantic Ocean.
During your visit, you will be able to discover the nursery. This is where marine animals take their “first steps.”
And because not all species are visible to the naked eye, the Océarium offers you to observe microorganisms, such as egg-laying or larvae, through a microscope.
This institute of the sea is engaged and serves as a structure for the CAPOERA program (catching stingray eggs) to cope with the decline of this species on the Atlantic coasts.