Jacques Cousteau

The museum has long been associated with Jacques Cousteau, who fascinated generations with his amazing undersea adventures on TV. Many of his viewers later went on to enjoy scuba diving for themselves as adults. So there's often some exhibition or other related to the life and work of Captain Cousteau.


Opening Times

10 to 6 from October to March
9.30 to 7 from April 1 to September 30
9.30 to 7.30 in July and August
It only closes on the day of the Grand Prix
Adult €12.50 • Child or Student €6 • Child under 6 free


Getting There

1. Take the number 1 or 2 Bus towards Monaco-Ville. The bus should be marked Palais-Musée on the front.
2. Walk. What most people do. It's a fair hike up the hill.
3. Car. Only for Monaco registered cars.
4. Lift (US: elevator). If you're very resourceful, you'll find the lift at the back of the Quai des Pêcheurs car park, take it to the top floor, then take the escalator which comes out right beside the museum.

Shop & Restaurant

There's a visitors shop where you can buy postcards, posters, and other marine related items such as globes. They also have more expensive one-offs - I saw a 2000 year old amphora for sale for €100. During the Damien Hirst exhibition they were selling signed butterfly prints for €3500.

The restaurant is on the roof terrace, it has unbeatable views, but is difficult to find. You have to go up a small staircase from the upper level.


Vocab

Le Musée Océanographique = The Oceanographic Museum
Monaco Ville = The Old Town. The rocky promontory overlooking the Principality. This is where the Palace, the Oceanographic Museum, the Cathedral and most of the State buildings are located. You get fantastic 360º views of Fontvieille, the Port, Monte Carlo and beyond.
Monaco Oceanographic Museum AnemonesMonaco Oceanographic MuseumMonaco Oceanographic Museum OctopusMonaco Oceanographic Museum EntranceMonaco Oceanographic Museum JellyfishMonaco Oceanographic Museum Mosaic FloorMonaco Oceanographic Museum Prince Albert IMonaco Oceanographic Museum Aquarium FishMonaco Oceanographic Museum Formaldehyde ExhibitMonaco Oceanographic Museum FishMonaco Oceanographic Museum Fossil

The Oceanographic Museum
Perched dramatically on the cliff-top in Monaco Ville, the Oceanographic Museum is Monaco's most visited museum. Well, OK, there's not much competition, but it's world famous all the same.

Prince Albert I

The museum has a splendid view over the sea and contains hundreds of beautiful species of fish in its aquariums. It was built 100 years ago by the founder of modern Monaco, Prince Albert I, who was quite the sailor. He mapped significant portions of the ocean floor and chose to spend a large part of World War I in his laboratory yacht in Monaco harbour.

Along with the aquariums there is also an interesting oceanographic museum, with skeletons and all manner of weird specimens perserved in yellow liquid from a bygone age.

The impressive whale and shark skeletons, which used to dominate the upper rooms, seem to have been removed. Many of the "explorer" yachts of old used to hunt whales "for scientific purposes", just as the Norwegian fleet still does today.

Aquarium

Although many of the exhibits haven't changed in decades, in 2001 the museum inaugurated a brand new shark tank which forms a centre piece for the aquariums.

Despite the name, don't expect to see dozens of hungry sharks swimming around. There are a just a few - asleep mostly - on the floor of the tank. The spectacle is nevertheless fascinating. The stars of the show are the myriad other colourful and strangely shaped fish swimming around.

The tank is arranged so that you can see small reef dwellers from one side as you come in and larger shoals from the other deeper side once further inside the museum.