Explore the Science of Love at Paris’s Palais de la Découverte

Discover the science behind the romance at Palais de la Découverte
Discover the science behind the romance at Palais de la Découverte | © ® N Breton
Cajsa Carlson

Architecture & Design Editor

In Paris, even the science museum is a romantic destination. Learn more about how we think about love and its intangible effects at the Palais de la Découverte’s exhibition, On Love (De L’Amour).

A selection of artworks and displays at the Palais de la Découverte explore love and relationships

Paris got its nickname of the ‘City of Love’ for a reason – strolling around its picturesque, narrow streets, stopping for a glass of wine at one of its many, many corner bistros and exploring the city’s storied museums and galleries are all great things to do à deux.

Close to the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries and the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement, a collection of museums and art galleries are the perfect destination for a cultural date. This is where you’ll find the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, both art museums, as well as a more interactive option: the science museum, Palais de la Découverte.

The Grand Palais and the Palais de la Découverte are fun cultural destinations in the 8th arrondissement

The museum, founded in 1937, is in a beautiful 19th-century building, and at the moment, it’s an especially apt place to visit with a partner, as it’s hosting the exhibition, On Love (De L’Amour). It takes a scientific look at love – something that is easier said than done, according to co-curator Astrid Aron. “Love isn’t a topic that scientists like to investigate, like fear or anger. When it comes to those emotions, we share the same responses, but with love, everyone has a different reaction or understanding of it,” she explains.

The fascinating exhibition, which is presented in French, English and Spanish, looks at different kinds of love, taking its cue from the Greek’s four words for love. In Greek, there are words for desire, familial love, selfless love and friendship, all of which are represented at the Palais de la Découverte in the ‘Gallery of Attachments’. But, naturally, for a science museum, it’s in the ‘Gallery of Science’ where the most interesting displays can be found. Here, you can explore data on where people find love now and play a game that lets you test your empathy, as well as a guessing game that uses heart-shaped plastic cards. “Lots of the cards are actually stolen by the visitors, and the ones taken are the ones that say ‘Will you marry me?’,” says Aron.

‘Une histoire d’attachement’ looks at how children form attachments

On Love (De L’Amour) is also a declaration of love to the Palais de la Découverte itself, which will be closing for four years of renovations in August 2020 (though a temporary space will still be open in the city). After visiting the exhibition – or if you’re in the area and looking for a good place to eat – don’t miss the nearby Minipalais restaurant. The brasserie, located in the Grand Palais, focusses on quality and freshness. The result is an innovative menu with plenty of exciting dishes to enjoy in the beautiful restaurant, with its high ceilings, decorative sculptures and sunny patio with palm trees. And if you are visiting Paris with someone you love, an after-dinner walk in the Jardin des Champs-Élysées or a stroll along the riverbanks of the nearby Seine is a great way to wrap up a day in the city.

‘On Love’ investigates what happens in our brains when we’re in love

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