Make your way to some of France’s most wonderful aquariums, zoos, museums, and historical sites through YouTube and other video content… all without leaving the comfort of home!
L'Aquarium de ParisWith the help of 43 tanks, over 10,000 types of fish and jellyfish, and a dedicated team, L’Aquarium de Paris shows the magic of the oceans to their visitors. Plus, if Baby Shark is a top hit in your home, the aquarium has 50 of everyone’s favorite finned friends!
(ps- sometimes they welcome real, live sirènes into their tanks!)
Aquarium Tropical du Palais de la Porte DoréeSince 1931, l’Aquarium Tropical has been the place to go to explore tropical flora and fauna. Today, they have 85 tanks and over 15,000 animals in 750 species - which gives viewers a lot to learn! Many of their longer videos are hosted on the Aquariums website, so be sure to go behind the scenes and check out the aquarium’s mission and its curiosities. But the real fun comes from learning about complex topics like biology, inter-species cooperation, how fish succeed in breathing underwater, different types of fish food, and, of course, sharks.
Zoo Parc BeauvalConsidered one of the most beautiful zoos in the world, the Zoo Parc Beauval is home to the greatest animal diversity in France with nearly 10,000 animals including giant pandas! Their online presence is very curated, as though it’s a behind-the-scenes reality documentary at the zoo!
Thoiry Zoo SafariThe Thoiry Zoo Safari is a bit different from the other zoos on this list, as they let visitors drive through their park like a safari! This experience is unique in France, warranting it plenty of coverage from Paris Match and France 3.
Zoo de la FlècheThe Zoo de la Flèche is considered one of the top zoos in France and they digitally invite us onto their 18 acres to celebrate animal births, to witness the daily lives of their 1,500 animals, and to partake in their wildlife conservation efforts. All of their work follows their mission of “mieux connaître pour mieux protéger” or “to know better in order to better protect.”
Museums and historic sites
Musée d'OrsayThe Musée d’Orsay has longer form videos in both English and French. They have a series called “Une œuvre, un regard” that pairs a contemporary artist with their favorite work of art. The artist in question can specialize in anything from visual arts like painting or sculpture to pursuits in writing, philosophy, design, music, acting, directing, or even science. The variety in art and spokesperson makes this a must-watch playlist in French or English.
And that’s just one of their series! Another features Promenades imaginaires, audio stories imagined by Béatrice Fontanel and is inspired by the different paintings in the museum.
Musée du LouvreThe Louvre has the expected filmed exhibitions, conferences, and historical explorations uploaded to their channel… but that’s not all! Since 2016, the Louvre has given France’s YouTubers carte blanche to use the space creatively. This makes for an interesting batch of videos! From ASMR to Fake News, there’s a different, unexpected perspective in each video. What will you discover?
Château de VersaillesVersailles’ YouTube channel aims to give viewers an immersive sense of the site as it is today and as it stood in history. Today, you can explore Versailles through VR (Virtual Reality) and the interpretive work of a sound engineer as well as beautiful videos showing off its expansive beauty. As for the history that is etched into each golden nook and cranny? They have playlists focusing on the characters, historic moments, and an entire online course about Louis XIV and his time at the Palace.
Muséum national d'Histoire naturelleThe Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle includes a network of museums, zoos, and gardens throughout Paris. Their YouTube channel offers a glimpse behind the scenes of their most popular exhibitions and links to their other locations’ channels such as the Parc zoologique and the Musée de l'Homme.
The museum aims to bring the zoo into the 21st century with their Parc zoologique de Paris with 2,000 animals spread out over 14 acres. The Musée de l’Homme showcases the evolution of humanity through biological, social and cultural lenses.
Opéra National de ParisThe national opera house’s YouTube channel has many sneak peeks behind the curtain. With over 350 years of opera, they have a lot of content! Looking for a way to dip your toe into this glitzy world? Check out their “Dessine-moi l’Opéra” playlist for bite-sized explanations of famous operas. Want to meet the people behind the production? Check out “Art et maîtrise : Les métiers de l'Opéra,” a nine-part series about the talented individuals outside of the spotlight.
Can’t get enough opera? Check out Opera Wire’s comprehensive list of currently streaming shows.
And, of course, there is The French Library! Did you know that the Center has a YouTube channel and a Vimeo account? Here, you’ll find past author talks and presentations and even video recipes. Keep an eye on these channels going forward for storytimes and other programming from the Center.
Ingrid began her passion for French through the immersion program in Milton, MA, and has followed it around France and the world. She took a break from this first love to pursue a B.A. in English with a minor in Irish Studies at Boston College and a Masters of Library and Information Sciences at Simmons College. She is thrilled to meld her excitement for libraries and French language and culture in her position at the Center!