Scientific Paris abounded in shops and institutions, meetings and lectures. Science was to some extent a sociable discipline, and Parisians with an inclination toward natural philosophy took advantage of the varied opportunities the city offered. The Academy was an important participant in Parisian scientific circles. It contributed to a slight topographic shift of the scholarly community from the Left to Right Bank. Its transactions with instrument makers encouraged the trade, and its improved cartographic techniques were adopted by map makers. Its Observatory was open to visitors who could learn from the equipment and maps displayed there. Academicians participated in other scientific gatherings. They also collected books, natural curiosities, and instruments, and they educated the public through their publications, in private lessons, and by teaching at institutions sponsored by the crown. Scholarly interchange with persons outside the Academy remained important to academicians, who sought contacts in Paris and abroad. Members of the Academy were not cloistered, but avidly sought contacts. The use they made of these connections, however, was complicated by personal competitiveness among savants and by institutional interference.