Fodor's Expert Review Pavillon de l'Arsenal
If your knowledge of Paris history is nul (nil), stop here for an entertaining free tutorial. Built in 1879 as a private museum, the Pavillon today is a restored structure of glass and iron that showcases the city's urban development through the ages. A giant model of Paris traces its evolution (with information in English). There are photos, maps, and videos, plus a giant digital interactive model detailing what Paris is predicted to look like in 2020. The standout, created in partnership with Google, is a floor mosaic made up of 48 LED screens that allows visitors at stationary consoles to explore the city via Google Maps. The Pavillon also has a café-bookstore and hosts frequent architecture-themed temporary exhibits.