Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée (Paleontology and comparative Anatomy Gallery)

The Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée invites us on an illustrious journey into the kingdom of skeletons, organs and shells! What a spectacular way to discover how living beings are organised and surround ourselves with animals from the past!


The site

A place where you can look into the past
In the late 19th century, Albert Gaudry, Professor of Paleontology and a promoter of evolutionary ideas in France, undertook to present Paris with a new site dedicated to comparative anatomy and paleontology. "Although," he said, "Man cannot see into the future, which is one of the hardest ordeals of his fate, he can try to look into the past." An integral part of Paleontology, Comparative anatomy, taught at the time by Georges Pouchet, would find its place under the same roof. It is a superb building, designed by the architect Ferdinand Dutert and opened in 1898 in preparation for the 1900 Universal Exhibition. The large stone and metal gallery is nearly 80 metres long and decorated with a large number of sculptures inspired by nature.

Silent and venerable witnesses
For Paul Claudel, the Galerie d’Anatomie comparée was "nothing less than [the] finest Muséum in Paris […]. Each time I come to France, I return to visit this exquisite gallery with a such a feeling of religious veneration that each time I want to take off not just my hat, but my shoes as well." A feeling of respect still shared today when faced with this huge herd of complete skeletons which seems to be running through the central area of the Galerie d’Anatomie comparée. All the different adaptations of the vertebrate skeleton according to the animals’ living environment are on show, including fish, birds, reptiles, mammals, the whale and Man. The idea is to be able to compare the sizes, shapes and ways of movement. The journey on the second floor is just as spectacular. In the Galerie de Paléontologie, there is an astonishing leap back in time. The fossils on display illustrate the animal forms which succeeded each other for 600 million years. The stars of this show are the fascinating dinosaurs and the mammoths which outclass us in both size and age…

A mine of information about the past and the future
The Muséum researchers wanted to make this complementarity between Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy more evident during the partial renovation in 1998. From one gallery to the next, we travel through time, observing the evolution of certain groups from their origin to their extinction and discovering their present-day descendants. Several research teams composed of anatomists, archeozoologists, paleontologists and systematicians still use these historic collections and continue to add new specimens to them.

The tree of life
Placed on the monumental staircase of the Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée, the tree of life helps visitors understand the concept of the classification of living beings and find their way around the multitude of animal and plant species. Following the same principle as the phylogenetic tree, it presents the family relationships between living organisms and helps us understand how the various groups are related to each other.

Find out more about the Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée


Plan your visit

General accessibility
The Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée is not specifically laid out for directing visually-impaired visitors. That is why it is advisable to come with a companion.
Please note: there are a lot of steps in the building.
In the daytime, the natural light streaming in through the large windows makes the works, information boards and diagrams easier for visually-impaired visitors to read.
Very few seats in the exhibition areas.
The upper floors can only be reached by the stairs.

Please note:

  • It is not possible to touch the objects and specimens, but in many cases, it is possible to get up close to the objects on display. A certain number of the objects are not behind glass.
  • The stairs are not yet fitted with stair nosings or tactile warning strips. The monumental staircase leading upstairs is equipped with a tradional-style handrail.
  • Many of the diagrams are old and hard for visually-impaired visitors to read, but they do contribute to the "spirit of the place"

Parking
Individual visitors and families: there is not a visitors’ car park at the Jardin des Plantes, but there are several car parks in the surrounding area:

  • Patriarches car park: 4, Place Bernard Halpern - Paris 5th arrondissement (a 10 minute walk from the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution)
  • Quai d’Austerlitz car park: 29, quai d’Austerlitz - Paris 13th arrondissement (a 20 minute walk from the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution)
  • Austerlitz Verrière car park: 85, quai d’Austerlitz - Paris 13th arrondissement >>Currently closed due to works

Groups: parking allowed by request only for a maximum of two PRM vehicles on the Jardin des Plantes premises. Requests must be made no later than 48 hours before the date of your visit to resamuseum@mnhn.fr

Public transport
Bus: 24, 57, 61, 63, 67, 89 and 91
Batobus: Jardin des Plantes stop
Metro, RER: line 5 Austerlitz (the nearest) – line 7 Censier Daubenton – line 10 Jussieu or Austerlitz (the nearest) - RER C Gare d’Austerlitz
SNCF train station: Gare d’Austerlitz and Gare de Lyon
Transport accessibility information: infomobi.com

Getting here
The nearest entrance is at 2, rue Buffon – 75005 Paris (download the map of the Jardin des Plantes at the bottom of the page).

Please note:

  • flight of steps and no handrail up to the main entrance
  • a few steps inside to reach the comparative anatomy collections (no handrail)
  • a monumental staircase to reach the Paleontology collections upstairs (with traditional-style handrail)

Reception
The reception and cash desk is opposite the main entrance, as soon as you come through the door. A guide rope runs from the entrance door to the reception and cash desk.

Toilets
Large staircase to reach the lower ground floor toilets.
Nearest accessible toilets: toilet cubicles in the Jardin des Plantes near the main entrance to the Ménagerie (see map which can be downloaded at the bottom of the page).

Food and drink
Several food stands selling sandwiches, drinks and sweets are dotted around the Jardin (please note that not all of the kiosk counters are of an accessible height).
There are several picnic areas with tables and chairs available for visitors.
It is possible to have a picnic on the lawn next to the Grandes Serres at the Jardin des Plantes (visitors are not allowed on the other lawns).
Cafeteria on the first floor of the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution – access with admission ticket specifically for the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution, with a view of the land animals. Please note: the cash desk at the cafeteria is not a suitable height (112cm high). Chairs with backs and no armrests.

Opening times and days
Every day from 10am to 6pm, except Tuesdays, 25 December, 1st January and 1st May


Events and activities – Prices

Activities for individual visitors and families
To find out the activities available for everyone, download the Jardin des Plantes’s quarterly brochure at the bottom of the page.

No specific tours (sensory tours) offered in this site.

Please note: It is not possible to touch the objects and specimens, but often it is possible to get up close to the objects on display.

Tickets and reservations for individual visitors and families on self-guided tours
Free admission for disabled visitors coming for an unaccompanied tour (without a guide) and for a companion, upon presentation of proof (disability or priority card).
Any additional companions buy their tickets at the current price.
Booking not required for unaccompanied tours.

Tickets and reservations for individual visitors and families for activities with a guide
Prices for the activities on offer vary depending on the type of activity. To find out what they are, download the Jardin des Plantes’s quarterly brochure at the bottom of the page.

Educational activities for groups
No specific tours (sensory tours) offered in this site.
Please note: It is not possible to touch the objects and specimens, but often it is possible to get up close to the objects on display.

Tickets and reservations for pre-arranged groups on self-guided tours
Reservation required – Reservations service – resamuseum@mnhn.fr

Reservations for permanent Galleries

  • Less than 10 participants: No reservation required *
  • More than 10 participants: Reservation required – €9 / group

* A headed letter from your institution requesting free admission for a disabled group must be presented at the ticket booth.

Tickets and reservations for pre-arranged groups on guided tours or for workshops
Reservation required – Reservations service – resamuseum@mnhn.fr

Less than 10 participants:

  • Duration 1 hour: €7.60 /participant
  • Duration 1 hr 30 mins: €10.10 /participant

10 participants or more:

  • Duration 1 hour: €76 /group
  • Duration 1 hr 30 mins: €101 /group
  • Duration 2 hours: €136 /group

Contact

Jardin des Plantes general reception centre
+33(0)1 40 79 56 01
info-accessibilite@mnhn.fr