Take the plunge.

By Jessica Poitevien
September 24, 2020

Three museums are set to open in France this fall, and the only masks required for entry will be for snorkeling and scuba diving. These new attractions are joining the ranks of underwater sculpture parks and museums around the world.

A general view of a underwater sculpture at MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Arte) off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico on September 26, 2018. Consisting of over 500 permanent life-sized and monumental sculptures by English artist Jason deCaires Taylor, MUSA is one of the largest and most ambitious artificial art attractions in the world. The Museum aims to demonstrate the interaction between art and the environmental science and form part of an complex reef structure for marine life to colonize and inhabit whilst increasing biomass on a grand scale. All of the sculptures are fixed to the seabed and made from specialized materials to promote coral life. The total installations occupy an area of over 420 square meters of barren substrate and weigh in at over 200 tons.
| Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for Lumix

According to the Matador Network, art collector Francois Ollandini recently immersed three sculptures by Marc Petit in the Mediterranean Sea, beneath the Isolella Tower near Ajaccio, a town on the French island of Corsica. Seven other sculptures by the artist can already be seen at the site. Meanwhile, a sculpture of the goddess Gaia is submerged in the water in front of Lazaret Ollandini, the collector’s home and private museum dedicated to the Petit’s work.

Ollandini also commissioned another 18 other sculptures from Petit, which he hopes to install in a fishing- and sailing-free zone on the coast north of Ajaccio. Their final location, however, has yet to be chosen.

An underwater photo shows a sculpture at Side Underwater Museum, which has been opened on 31st October 2015, in Manavgat district of Antalya, Turkey on November 4, 2019.
| Credit: Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Marseille’s newest snorkeling attraction, Musée Subaquatique, is scheduled to open on Sept. 24 and will also receive a Petit sculpture. This underwater museum will include 10 pieces, each from a different artist. The sculptures will be installed 16 feet under the water of the beach Les Catalans, Matador Network reports.

And in 2010, British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor founded Museo Subacuático de Arte, an underwater sculpture museum found at a location off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Six years later, he created Europe’s first underwater sculpture museum off the coast of Lanzarote, Spain. Now, he will also contribute to the efforts underway in France, creating six pieces for a November submarine display located south of the island of Sainte Marguerite in the Bay of Cannes, Matador Network reports. Like his previous works, which can also be found in the Caribbean and Indonesia, the sculptures in France will be made with materials that promote a healthy environment for the local marine life.