The permanent exhibition dedicates over 800 m² to the history, current events, and future of the Parisian metropolis, with over 1,000 archival documents, photographs, maps, plans, and films.
"Paris – the Metropolis and Its Projects" is a chronological journey that leads us through the history of this territory from its origins to the present day and presents its future prospects. The exhibition explains the interrelated transformations of the various municipalities that make up the metropolis, enabling visitors to understand its inner workings. It provides numerous thematic references that reveal a metropolis structured around underlying agricultural, ornamental and road patterns, and that developed through a process of urbanization resulting from demographic, technological, economic, and political change. These include the construction of Lutetia, the capital of the Parisii (later renamed Paris) around 300 CE, which became the capital of the kingdom of the Franks around 506 CE; the construction of fortifications, administrative partitions, and fiscal enclosures; Louis XIV’s creation of another capital in Versailles; the industrial revolution and the ways in which it disrupted how city dwellers interacted ans well as their relationship to the city; the annexation of neighboring municipalities by Haussmann in 1860; Le Corbusier's provocative 1925 project, in which the central districts of Paris were to be razed and replaced by a modern city made up of skyscrapers and highways; the reconstruction and the emergence of the single-family house as a model for urban development; the omnipresence of cars; and, lastly the challenges that Paris and the metropolis will have to address in this early twenty-first century.
Visitors are given the opportunity to discover the ongoing transformations of the city, where projects of all sizes and kinds are discussed, considered, and shared with local residents on a daily basis—rediscovering the Seine, continuing the transformation of the city taking into account environmental challenges (in the close suburbs as well as the post-war city), investing and innovating on new urban plots, improving mobility and public spaces, co-designing with residents, transforming and renovating the built heritage of Paris, developing iconic architectures… For the very first time, “Paris – the Metropolis and its Projects" is bringing together the history and current events of metropolitan architectural and urban planning in a single exhibition.