Palais de la Porte Dorée

Palais de la Porte Dorée (84)

The Palais de la Porte Doreé, or Palace of the Golden Door, is a delightful art deco building, and currently houses a museum and an aquarium. It was designed for the Colonial Exhibition of 1931.

The façade requires a great deal of attention. On it you can see a large frieze by Janniot that depicts the contribution of the French colonies to the country.

In the past the Palais de la Porte Dorée was home to the National Museum of African and Oceanic Arts. This collection currently forms part of the Quai Branly Museum. Today the palace houses the National City of the History of Immigration. It operates as a museum and a cultural centre at the same time. It has a programme full of activities, performances and film showings, normally around the theme of immigration.

France was one of the big colonising world powers and since the 19th century planned the construction of museum for colonial propaganda purposes. It was not until the thirties that the museum was created, in the period in which the French colonial empire began to crumble with the problems in Indochina. 

This museum ended up as an art show of the areas colonised and of the industry, agriculture and curiosities of those places. From the fifties it began to take on a more artistic nature and not so much a vehicle of propaganda that justified colonisation.

There are two magnificent halls open to the public. The Hall d’Honneur and the Salle des Fêtes from the thirties. In the basement you can visit its aquarium, full of tropical fish and terrariums with tortoises and crocodiles.

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