1. Its story
As early as 1932-1933, Jean Perrin, winner of the 1926 Nobel prize for Physics for his work on the atom, began laying the groundwork for a Palais de la Découverte proposed by André Léveillé, Vice-President of the Confederation of Intellectual Workers.
When he founded the Palais de la Découverte, Jean Perrin wanted to "manifest the vital role that science has played in creating our civilisation and impart the certainty that we will never discover anything truly new, nothing life-changing, except through research and discovery."
In 1937, as part of the International Exhibition "Art and technology in modern life", the Palais de la découverte was allocated 25 000m², i.e. the western half of the Grand Palais and the annexe on avenue de Selves, built especially for the exhibition (evacuated for safety reasons in 1942).
The interior décor was designed in accordance with the tastes of the time. Passage between the great nave, the Salon d'Honneur and the Palais d'Antin was closed, to channel the flow of visitors and separate access to the Palais de la Découverte from other events held in the Grand Palais.
This first exhibition known as "The Palais de la découverte" received 2,225,000 visitors, and ran from May 1937 to the end of November 1937.
It was soon re-opened on a permanent basis, and went through many changes of status, before becoming a "Scientific, Cultural and Professional Public Body" in 1990, conferring upon it the right to manage itself independently.
It is supervised by the Ministry of National Education, Research and Technology (MENRT).