Paris’s Place de Trocadéro has always been worth a visit. It’s got a jaw-dropping view of the Eiffel Tower just across the Seine from the vast Jardins du Trocadéro esplanade, and the posh Carette tea room, with silver service and gorgeously prissy raspberry tarts. (I make a mean scrambled egg at home and yet I have traveled miles for their shockingly expensive-yet-totally-worth-it breakfast. The eggs with the mushroom mix-in… those little mouillettes, puff pastry spiked with cheese that lay atop the creamy yellow pile… I could go on.) I’ve spent hilarious afternoons geeking out with the stepkids at the Musée National de la Marine in the Palais de Chaillot complex, trembling before elaborately carved 18th century hulls and soaking up details about cod fishing through the ages.
And now to further fuel our nerdy passions, there comes, impressively, the Musée de l’Homme, which reopened two weeks ago after six years of major renovations. With a science and anthropology focus, the star attraction is the 27,000 square foot Galerie de l’Homme. Tracing the path of human evolution, it spans over two floors and includes a wacky-brilliant array of bones, historic phrenological, and anatomical busts and dummies.
While the massive 1878 glass ceiling by master designer Jean-Antoine-Gabriel Davioud (who also created Paris’s signature swirly public benches, lampposts, and signposts) has been completely restored and classified a historic monument, elsewhere in the building light wells have been installed to distribute as much of the good natural stuff as possible. There are also halls and halls filled with prehistoric and tribal objects, and a balcony dedicated to displaying the latest research in human sciences, with free guided visits by the experts and doctoral candidates who use the 20 percent of the total museum space that’s dedicated to teaching and studying.
Alexandra Marshall is a contributing editor and the Paris correspondent at Travel + Leisure. Food, design, architecture and fashion are her specialties, which means, living in Paris, that she is very busy. Follow her on Twitter and on Instagram.