A whale in the Museum?

Salle de la Baleine

It’s true: one of the main attractions of the Musée Océanographique is an actual real-life whale! Or more precisely, its huge skeleton: 18 metres long and almost three tonnes of bones. 

Nearby you will also see many other sea mammals, just waiting to be (re)discovered.


When we enter this huge room, we immediately understand why it’s called the Whale Room.

A huge 18-metre-long whale hangs before us. Several metres off the ground, this 2.8-tonne skeleton seems to float in middle of the vast room. This fin whale was found beached on the Mediterranean shore a long time ago. In 1896 to be precise, ten years before the Institut Océanographique was even created. This 123-year-old giant brings us a connection between the past and present. It is one of the charms of this very special room with a one-of-a-kind collection in the world and an extraordinary atmosphere.

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As if they were swimming side-by-side

After admiring this whale, we travel through time and far out to sea, where thousands of its ancestors live on even today.

Just like in the Mediterranean room, this whale is not alone. Thirteen other sea mammal skeletons appear to be swimming by its side. Most of them are from the many expeditions that Prince Albert I of Monaco ventured on around the globe. Among them, we can see an 8-metre-long sperm whale. The most patient among you could even count its bones. To save you from doing so, there are 163 in total!

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Admire the collection from above

Admire even more friends of the fin whale and sperm whale: dolphins, a replica of an orca, Cuvier’s beaked whale, a narwhal with its incredible swordlike tusk, etc.

To really appreciate the wonder of these fantastic sea creatures and see all the small details, you can use the upper platforms around the room, to admire them from up above.

You will notice that some of them have five fingers at the end of their fins. A detail which means we can relate to them even better… For those who would like to learn even more about these creatures, there are tactile tablets opposite each specimen. They provide information about each one and help discover which animal is represented by each skeleton.

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Did you know?

Every hour, a strange phenomenon brings these underwater creatures to life.

Admire the sound and lights show by Xavier Perret, with original music by Clovis Schneider.
This production was created to discover or rediscover the inhabitants of this room in a different light.

Our recommendation? Keep an eye on the time and get there just at the right time to surprise your friends or children when the atmosphere in the room suddenly changes. As well as the natural history collection of the Museum, temporary exhibitions regularly take place in the Whale Room. Yet another reason to stop by during your visit!