The Espace des sciences

The “Espace des sciences” centre, which may be translated as the “Science Centre”, is an organization dedicated to the promotion and the diffusion of scientific, technical and industrial culture to a wide audience.

Created in 1984 in Rennes (French Brittany), this organization, which belongs to the European network of Science Centres, obtained in 2008, from the French government department of Higher Education and Research, the label of “Science, Culture and Innovation”. Among the regional science centres in France, this centre is the most visited: 180,000 visitors in 2009.

In 2006, the Espace des sciences joined the new cultural equipment of the city of Rennes, named the “Champs Libres”, which brings it together with the region's most important Public Library and the French Brittany Museum (more than 1 million visitors for the last few years all together). The activity of the Espace des sciences takes many forms : interactive exhibitions, astronomy sessions, scientific mediation, multimedia edition and diffusion (books, monthly magazine, website,…), debates and conferences, touring exhibitions (all over France), events like the organization of the Festival of Science… It is also a showcase for public institutions, laboratories and universities to show their projects to the public.

The ambition of the Espace des sciences is to share with the largest amount of people, the pleasure of learning about scientific knowledge. Its goal is to give rise to scientific vocations as its audience is wide and particularly young. A direct connection between scientists and people at large is promoted. To make science accessible, visitors are invited to experiment and manipulate. The Espace des sciences owns 3 exhibition rooms (each of 300 m²), a 95-seater planetarium and has at its disposal a 450-seater lecture hall. The Espace des sciences imagines, creates and presents its own exhibitions (touring or not), its own astronomy sessions, its own books, magazine and website.



  • 100-seater room with a domed screen of 320 m²
  • 5 daily one hour sessions commented live
  • original topics created by the Espace des sciences : "the sky tonight", "the solar system", "man in space"...
  • 55,000 spectators each year, 20,000 of which are students

Our exhibitions

  • Three exhibition rooms : the Laboratoire de Merlin (Merlin's Laboratory), the salle Eurêka (Eureka's room) and the salle de la Terre (Earth room).
  • Two new exhibitions for the wide audience each year in the Eureka's room
  • Thirty hands-on exhibits for the whole family at Merlin's Laboratory
  • A great exhibition on the Armorican Massif in Earth room
  • 125,000 visitors each year, 20,000 of which are students
  • Touring exhibitions : 70 exhibitions available for multi-media libraries, town halls, cultural centres, companies...

Our interactive shows

  • 18 interactive shows with our scientific mediators each day
  • Spectacular experiments involving the audience

Our conferences

  • The mardis de l'Espace des sciences (Science Center Tuesdays): a lecture followed by a debate in the 450-seaters Hubert Curien hall, with renowned scientists, like the astrophysicist Hubert Reeves.
  • 350 listeners each week, about all fields of research, most of them recorded and avaliable in video podcast

Publishing, newspapers and magazines

  • Collections of books for children and adults (Apogée Publishers)
  • Science issues, experiments and animals for children (Sunday's edition of Ouest France newspaper)
  • The monthly magazine Sciences Ouest

Special events

  • Coordination of the National Science Week in French Brittany since 1992
  • Organization of the Festival of Science in Rennes Métropole since 2006

Contents in English

Our history

The Espace des sciences at Colombia commercial center1984 Creation of the Espace des sciences, a Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture Centre (CCSTI), an initiative by the city of Rennes under the status of association Act of 1901.

1986 Inauguration of a venue for temporary exhibitions in Colombia commercial centre (photo), at the heart of Rennes. The activities of the Espace des sciences are supported by the Ministry for Research and Brittany Regional Council.

1990 Introduction of a service of touring exhibitions and of a portable planetarium.

1998 First co-productions of exhibitions with the Palais de la découverte, the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (National Museum of Natural History) and the Musée des Arts et Métiers (arts and crafts museum)

1999 The Launching of the operation ”Discovering science in Ille-et-Vilaine” with the General Council

2000 Réseau (Network), the Breton scientific news magazine created in 1985, becomes Sciences Ouest,

2004 Partnership with Morlaix Municipal Council

The Espace des sciences at Les Champs Libres2006 The Espace des sciences at the Champs Libres (photo).

2007 Partnership with the Rectorat d’Académie de Rennes (regional education office).

2008 Annual attendance of 175,000 visitors.

2009 Partnership with Saint-Malo Theatre.

2010 Agreement with Universcience, a public institution merging the Palais de la découverte and the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie.

Facts and figures

200 000 visitors

The attendance of the Espace des sciences at the Champs Libres in Rennes, in our branches (Morlaix, Saint-Malo), in secondary schools and during special events is of 192,120 people (2010).

In Rennes, in French Brittany and in France, the action of the Espace des sciences reaches more than 350,000 people

In 2010 at the Champs Libres: 155,000 admissions, 305 opening days, 3,000 interactive shows done giving an average of 10 interactive shows a day, 1,470 classes welcomed.

Outer exhibitions
161,200 visitors, 178 loans of exhibitions, 119 of which in French Brittany
550 weeks of exhibitions loans, corresponding to 10 years
105 municipalities at least hosted an exhibition

The Espace des sciences on-line
4,000 website users a day (2011)
1,000,000 visitors in 2010
2,133,621 pageviews in 2010
First website in 1997, latest website launched in october 2011

11 issues of the magazine Sciences Ouest
12,000 monthly readers of Sciences Ouest
4 books for the youth published in 2010