The Centre de la Mer et des Eaux is an aquarium and a museum of marine life located in the building of the Institut Océanographique, which except for running research laboratories also presents contemporary aspects of oceanography and marine technology, as well as scale models, reconstructions of marine landscapes, and aquariums.
The Centre includes a set of 6 aquariums, each containing from 500 to 4,000 litres of seawater. The first pool contains fish of the coral reef, the second one reef coral and fauna that live within it, the third one brightly coloured fish, the forth small fish, the fifth clown fish and sea anemone, and the last one is dedicated to the French Atlantic coast (shellfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, and starfish, in water chilled to 12° C). An additional terrarium contains turtles given to the museum when they have become too large and aggressive for home cultivation. Special displays explain the richness of life in coastal and around hydrothermal vents, and illustrate the relationships between humans and four types of shellfish (scallop, oyster, cowry, and the nautilus).
The collections are thematically divided into sciences, technology, scale models, and aquariums. The centre also organises teaching activities, group visiting, guided tours, conferences, and also has special facilities for disabled guests. The site has its own book store and gift shop, as well as a parking area.