Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie (Geology and Mineralogy Gallery)

Open every day except Tuesdays, 1 January, 1 May, and 25 December.

They are the envy of many... The collections of this Gallery, among the oldest and most prestigious in the world, include Martian meteorites, giant crystals, rocks and admirable minerals. Precious specimens that tell the story of the Earth and the solar system.

The Earth’s treasures

During a stroll through the Jardin des Plantes, your steps may lead you to the Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie, along the allée Haüy - named after one of the pioneers of mineralogy. Behind the splendours of the rose garden, this neoclassical setting, 187 metres long and animated by two columned porticoes, now houses the Earth Treasures room, as it were, the jewel in the crown of the Museum.

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - J.-C. Domenech

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - J.-C. Domenech

In the kingdom of rarity

Admire the twenty or so giant crystals on display in the centre. Together with some sixty other pieces, they constitute the most beautiful collection in the world kept by a museum. Their original environment must have remained stable for thousands, if not millions of years, for them to have reached their spectacular size! It is thanks to the trader Ilia Deleff who collected them in the 1960s and 1970s that they fortunately escaped destruction.

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - J.-C. Domenech

An expert eye

On each side, eight thematic alcoves deal with all aspects of mineralogy, starting with the methods used to differentiate between species. After all, there are methods of distinguishing between minerals, plants and animals. However, several criteria must be combined in order to identify them. Distinguish sulphur from quartz and cooking salt, which do not have the same chemical formula. But you should know that the same composition can give rise to two minerals, depending on their crystal structure, i.e. the arrangement of their atoms. Carbon can be found in a pencil lead or a diamond!

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - J.-C. Domenech

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - J.-C. Domenech

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - J.-C. Domenech

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - J.-C. Domenech

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - J.-C. Domenech

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - J.-C. Domenech

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - J.-C. Domenech

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - A. Iatzoura

Jewellery box

Linger over the diversity of shapes and colours, the beauty of gems and ornamental stones. Fluorite, rarely colourless, can be blue, orange, white, purple or green, but azurite remains blue! Look at these pigments obtained from crushed minerals. Do you think that some minerals are cut so perfectly? But this is a totally natural work of art! And you will be amazed by the work of the jewellers, the jewels or even rarities, such as the blue diamond of Louis XIV and an authentic nugget from the gold rush.

The first stone

The history of the Museum is closely linked to that of these collections. Under Louis XIII, at the time of the creation of the Jardin royal des plantes médicinales, the king's drugstore housed minerals that were thought to have pharmaceutical properties. In the 18th century, these minerals, which had become objects of collection and research, were exhibited in the Cabinet d’histoire naturelle opened by Buffon and Daubenton in 1745. The Gallery, the first building designed to become a museum, was built in 1833. And even today, the minerals in the Gallery shed light on the formation of the Earth or even, thanks to meteorites, on the formation of the solar system. Fascinating stardust...

Trésors de la Terre - Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

© MNHN - A. Iatzoura
How to find us

36 rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
75005 Paris

valhuber@mnhn.fr

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