Jardin des Plantes, Paris
A ménagerie in Quartier Latin area.
A real and exciting discovery in 1984. Introduction to the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, bufflalo and rhino). Really enjoyed it. Above all, bears were my favourite there, in their pits. First time I saw them too. Enclosures were so tiny that animals had to be close by (!). Oh! and these other new things: ostriches, the cats (lions, leopards.. ), lamas, girafes. Its collection of ungulates is oddly large considering its size & according to standards.
Returned again in 2000. Moving to see that so many years passed. I was sent back in time again. I remembered then I was introduced to kangaroos & pink flamingoes in 84.
I really recommend it if you visit Paris with kids. Always a real running-off. People would go to Zoo de Vincennes but this one, for me, was special. Smallness made it nice & when bored of bonding with wildlife, it's easy to walk off & stroll the University area again.
This integral part of the National Museum of Natural History was built to replace the Royal menagerie of Versailles in 1794. No wonder the still old-fashioned flair. Hereafter website is a presentation (in English) of the Jardin des Pantes and its Menagerie.
For more pics, please check hereafter website. When in, scroll down. Choose in the list of links "Visite de la Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes", captions only in French.
- Opening times: Daily
Summer: 09:00 - 18:00
Winter: 09:00 - 17:00
Adults: 6 Euro
Children: 3.50 Euro
Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes
57, rue Cuvier - 75005 Paris
Metro stations: Censier Daubenton, Gare d'Austerlitz, Jussieu
Oh! btw, Paris has the largest herbier in the world. As a kid, my preference went to the fauna in la Ménagerie instead of flora in Le Jardin des plantes. Anyway, following are tips about Le jardin des plantes gatherings... and free pruning roses lessons!
Rue Mouffetard – great street for kids, lower half is pedestrians only, street is thriving Tuesday – Sunday, most stores are closed on Monday, great playground at bottom of street, great square at top of street with fountain, open air market keeps kids entertained, chocolate shops give chocolate to kids when visiting, fun atmosphere
La Defense – great mall! Elevators make it easy/Buses and trains link into underneath, large space outside has kid play area, carousel, lots of room to run
Montmarte – great little pedestrian area, shops and restaurants, good walking area, easy with stroller
The American Library – good kids story hour, free first time but you must be a member subsequent times, expensive to join if there for a short duration
Les Halles – underground mall, not too many great stores
Jardin des Plantes – great area to bring kids, carousel and large playground
Menagerie – great small zoo
The Marais District – lots of playgrounds, narrow streets with lots of character
- Place des Vosges
- Pylonees (fun store with bright items)
As we walked westward from the Jardin des Plantes on the Quai St. Bernard along the Seine, we came to a desolate strech of carefully designed concrete in the form of a plaza extending to the river edge like a boat-landing. In the area were a number of modern sculptures. There were no signs or labels (which is characteristic of such "gardens"). I subsequently learned that it is also called the Tino Rossi garden, but I do not know who he was). The stiff metal creations looked as sterile as their setting (somebody keeps it clean). The only vigoruos structure was a small stone "toadstool" covered with graffiti (undoubtedly placed by a second hand). The views from the landing of the Ile St. Louis and the Seine were an extra dividend. My guidebook said we were to see (and maybe we photoed them) a Zadkine "Development of Form" and Schoffer's "Chronos 10". Please advise.
In 1577, the pharmacist Nicolas Houel started a garden where he planted medicinal plants for his organisation, the Christian house of Charity. The first botanical garden of Paris was born, and grew to an amount of 1000 plants in 1624. Two years later the importance of the garden increase when King Louis XIII started a medicinal garden called "Jardin du Roi", garden of the King, advised by his doctors.
During the regime of King Louis XIV, the garden grew bigger and bigger. Doctor Guy Crescent Fagon was appointed in 1693 to organise the garden again. He built several greenhouses that still exist, as well as a labyrinth and a small amphitheatre. The Jardins you see nowadays are still more or less like mister Crescent Fagon designed it.
After the French Revolution the gardens lost their Royal status. From that period on, animals were introduced in the gardens. Today there is a large collection of reptiles, birds, insects, and even bears in the western part of the park.
Several pieces of art are always shown in the gardens, with temporary expositions too.
Address: Rue Cuvier / Rue Buffon
Metro: Jussieu / Place Monge
Lebanon (watchout the multicentennial cedar while heading to the labyrinth!), Bhutan, Namibia, Chile, Iran... some of the remote lands plants gathererd at zoological gardens "Jardin des plantes" originated from. Thanks to Louis XIII- and to his doctors emphasis- who authorized in 1626 the creation of a Royal Garden of botanical plants, Parisians could get used to medicinal plants from every corner of the world. In 1641, one year after public opening, it enlisted 2360 vegetal samples. Lectures were held in French, not Latin, to be sure anyone willing to attend understand. Nearly four centuries of travelling & exploration had broadened the gatherings with samples sent by correspondents (about 800 nowadays) or fetched by botanists, scientists, missionaries & travellers in general.
Nowadays, Le Jardin des plantes, the largest herbier in the world, comprehends 9 millions samples, three greenhouses, gardens...
Trees & plants from tropical areas are pampered at le Jardin d'hiver greenhouse where the likes of banana trees, ficus, pandanus, ferns..etc.. are provided with necessary humidity & heat. Some could reach their "jungle size", others not. Tall trees can brush the ceiling 16 meter above. Even philodendrons in my yard are not that tall as the sample here. Well, as long as they keep on providing me with their delicious fruits. lol. Am a big fan of this Monstera deliciosa fruit, tastes & smells like a mix of banana & pineapple.
Cacti (pic.2) and other warm & dry areas plants are also kept under conditions. Serre mexicaine & Serre australienne (Mexican & Australian greenhouses) shelter about 15000 species within a total surface of more than 5000sq². Isn't it about time to learn about how arid areas flora use to resist drought? or however resembling to a cactus, Aloe vera doesn't belong to this family (pic. 3)?...
[Warning! It is not allowed to take pictures w/ tripod there.
No pictures from my 84 visit: took pictures of plants that I have in my area & that I saw there.]
To be continued
When my dad suggested on this Friday of September 2004 that we would nip over Paris, one of the pictures of the Parisian marina immediately came to my mind: a guy jumping and diving from a bridge with yachts in the background. That's what Geo can do to you: trigger the desire to explore, to go beyond their depictions and accountings, even those dating back to years ago. And yes, I showed to my Mum the 2001 Geo pages with the descriptions of both Bassin de l'Arsenal and Canal Saint-Martin and listed them as places to experience.
Eventually, we chose 4 things to see during our stay: Bassin de l'Arsenal followed by Canal Saint-Martin, Winter greenhouses of Jardin des Plantes (again) and les Batignolles. We wanted to experience the lives in some lesser known villages. We experienced the parklife in Batignolles, the walk along the Bassin and skirting Canal Saint-Martin. The winter greenhouses were closed for reparations for an unspecified duration but we were not running out of cool spots. In the contrary, we were spoilt with choice.
We were amazed by how little we know about those areas though I can say my parents know Paris. It's just that the city is big and it takes a will to cross the boundaries of the known areas (the monuments, your homeplace, your workplace, your favourite shopping areas, some sport facilities) to get out of the metro stations and visit the other Parisian villages. So, here we were, sore feet but happy to have seen a little of this part of Paris we didn't know & didn't even think about.
That's how I like it most, unplanned, very loose schedule. Still, I am aware that it was only possible because we knew a bit of Paris so that we could afford to just have some details in mind, let our feelings decide about the rest & make the stay evolve by itself.
Jardins des Plantes in the 5th arr. near the Seine is another great park/garden in Paris.
Maybe not as famous as Jardins du Luxembourg, but this park offers some other activities.
Take your time to wander around a enjoy the millions of beautiful flowers, or enter one of the 'greenhouses' - a mexican and a tropical.
The park also contains a small zoo and 'History of Nature Museum' - Museum national d'histoire Naturelle.
The park opens when the sun goes op, and closes at sunset.
You'll find the park at: Rue Cuvier, Rue Buffon / Place Valhubert
Stroll through the many GARDENS of Paris. Best time to see the flowers in bloom, summer and early fall. Shown is the Luxembourg Palace & gardens. Also recommended is the Jardin des Plantes (close to Luxembourg) and the Tuilleries (by the Louvre).
JARDIN DES PLANTES First started in 1626 as a medicinal herb garden. The park now contains many gardens, a natural history museum, botanical school and zoo.