Lights! Camera! Fish!: CineAqua, Paris

After being closed for more than 20 years, Paris once again can proudly say that it has the biggest (and probably, the most expensive ) aquarium in all of Europe.

CineAqua is located in the heart of Paris, entirely underground. The entrance is located in the Jardins du Trocadéro, below the Palais Chaillot, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.

This innovative aquarium combines marine life with multi-media installations. Not only is it a first-class aquarium, but it also offers state-of-the-art animation and music studios, and constantly changing “happenings” to keep visitors entertained.

One example was developed by the CineAqua team of roboticists. Led by Professor Huosheng Hu of the University of Essex, they’ve spent years developing the world’s first Robot Fish. Already familiar to visitors at the London Aquarium, up to five of these technological marvels can now be seen in Paris. For the first time, they are sharing a tank with real fish. Professor Hu is curious to see how the mackerel of the Atlantic tank will respond to their mechanical kin.

CineAqua also has three cinemas and over 25 different screens. All of these are networked and managed by a single broadcast centre, which can store over 500 hours of film. On top of that, there are regular live performances in the Aquastudio. As its unrivalled technical facilities, the Aquastudio provides a setting that is available nowhere else: the backdrop to the stage is a 30-ft. wide, 26-ft. high window — the largest of its kind in the world — into a vast, landscaped and exotically populated tank.

Hungry? Not only can you watch these incredible fish –– but you can eat them at the same time. When you dine (and you are dining — this is not your typical fast-food museum cafeteria) at Ozu Restaurant, you’ll partake of exquisite Japanese cuisine combined with one of the most striking views in Paris. The entire floor is designed in classical Japanese style, and decorated with suits of Samurai armor.

So here are some figures about Cinéaqua, the name for the new “Aquarium Du Trocadéro” in Paris that finally opened its doors in Summer 2006:
• 3 years of building work
• 45 million Euros invested
• 40 million litres of water
• 41 different aquariums
• 400 different types of creature
• 8,000 creatures in all
• Takes 1 ½ hours to see it all
• The visit slowly takes you down to 19 metres underground
• The largest aquarium is nearly 10 metres deep and contains 3 million litres of water (3,000 tonnes) and 100 tonnes of salt
• There are 25 sharks.

CineAqua is open 364 days a year (closed Christmas day):
Mon-Sun : 10am to 8pm.
Last entry at 7pm.

Ticket Prices
Adult: 19.50 euros
Child (under 3): free
Child (3 to 12): 12,50 euros
Child (13 to 17) and Student (with card): 15,50 euros