The Palais de la Porte Dorée is a spectacular building – and one that for much of the second half of the 20th century was spectacularly embarrassing! Starting life as the main installation of the 1931 colonial exhibition, it quickly became obsolete when France began losing its colonies and developing a more enlightened attitude to countries previously in its jurisdiction.
It was rebranded several times, focusing instead on primitive art or nature, always without pulling in the crowds. At the beginning of the 20th century though, a decision was made to perform a radical switch. Instead of hosting displays on previous French colonies, it would instead now celebrate immigration into France!
The museum itself is small, but very nicely put together, with some fascinating permanent items and temporary exhibitions. On top of this though you get the building itself which is an art deco gem. And that’s not all. It is also home to a great and very charming cafe, with a lovely outdoor terrace.
And for children, the basement hosts an ever-popular aquarium.