Il était une fois, the science in tales exhibition at Paris Cité des Sciences

Talking about science through fairytales, here’s what the Cité des Sciences offers with its yearly exhibition “Il était une fois” [Once upon a time]. Running from October 3, 2017 to November 18, 2018, this exhibition takes children from 7 to 11 years old to discover physical, chemical, mathematical concepts by observing them live in their favorite fairytales, from Pinocchio to Jack and the Beanstalk.

Mum, dad, why are Seven Dwarves’ yawns catching? Is a brick stronger than wood, like in The Three Little Pigs story? Could the Princess and the Pea have been wakened up by the dust mites living in her mattress? Here are original questions that will find an answer through the informative and playful Cité des Sciences exhibition: Il était une fois la Science [Once upon a time the Science].

As a matter of fact, the Cité des Sciences offers us a lovely exhibition allowing us to know more about science through 10 fairytales well known by our little darlings. Here’s a playful and interesting way to learn and ask questions through stories and characters from our favorite fairytales.

Il était une fois, l'expo science à la Cité des Sciences

According Universcience chairman Bruno Maquart, this exhibition is a way to get children interested in sciences. He explains: “children are insatiably curious. Getting them to discover and love the world is one of our missions. Throughout the exhibition “Il était une fois, la science dans les contes” [Once upon a time, science in fairytales], fairytales unexpectedly become a privileged way to explain certain scientific phenomenon to young visitors but with another eye.”

Il était une fois, l'expo science à la Cité des Sciences

All in all, 33 interactive experiments await our children to explain them the scientific “moral” hiding behind their fairytales. Thanks to the video “The Big Bad Wolf”, the biology of the wolf (sight, hearing, diet, sense of smell) won’t be a secret any longer. “The lying camera” will teach children that they shouldn’t believe everything they see or hear (because men’s noses don’t grow like Pinocchio’s) and a manipulation show that a house resistance depends not only on the materials used, but also on the building technics!

Il était une fois, l'expo science à la Cité des Sciences

The exhibition evolves around 10 giant books illustrating, like pop-up books, the universes of the ten fairytales from child literature known by everyone. Each book has a beginning of the tale written on its cover and the altered moral, told by an actress. Then, it offers from 2 to 5 activities or interactive multimedia. Books are scattered around a central space, the Enchanting Forest, where museum devices are offered to favor children’s sensory stimulation (smelling, touching, evaluating, listening…).

Il était une fois, l'expo science à la Cité des Sciences

In short, a playful and very informative exhibition we love. And to help out kids throughout their visit of the exhibition, think about the 32-page activity booklet sold for €4.90.

Practical information:
Il était une fois la science dans les contes

From October 3, 2017 to November 18, 2018
Venue: Cité des Sciences
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Rates: €12 (Regular), €9 (reduced)
Exhibition for children from 7 to 11 years old
The ticket gives access to all Explora exhibitions, the planetarium, the Agronaute submarine and the Louis-Lumière cinema

Julie M.
Last updated on 4 October 2017

Practical information

Opening Time
From 3 October 2017 to 18 November 2018



    30 Avenue Corentin Cariou
    75019 Paris 19

    -2 ans, chômeurs, handicapés: Free
    tarif réduit: 9 €
    tarif plein: 12 €

    Recommended age
    From 7 to 11 years old

    Official website

    More information
    Horaires : 10h-18h du mardi au samedi, 10h-19h le dimanche

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