Grandes serres du Jardin des Plantes (Greenhouses)
Open every day except Tuesdays, 1 January, 1 May, and 25 December
Nature shows its creativity... From primitive aquatic plants that have conquered the earth to desert-resistant plants. Go deep into the heart of a fabulously vital flora in the large greenhouses. Back to the beginning... of Man!
Nature often shifts
One enters almost respectfully through an art deco peristyle reminiscent of a cathedral. And for good reason... the tropical rainforests, which are the focus of the first greenhouse, are sanctuaries of biodiversity, where a single hectare can be home to several hundred species of trees. From Africa, America and even South-East Asia, the plants form a sublime jungle. Walk between banana trees, lianas, ferns and orchids, climb the rock to enjoy the panorama of the greenhouse, discover the adaptations and functions of plant species.
In the long, adjoining gallery, the heat is that of deserts and arid environments (United States, Mexico, Sahara, Australia...). For the flora, this is the time to be creative! In order to withstand the dryness, everything is possible: burying themselves like rock plants, storing water in tissues like cacti, going dormant in seeds during dry periods... This necessity also creates strange silhouettes - like the ball, perfect for saving water -, sometimes covered with spines or hair. Some plants are even fire-resistant!
A natural Eldorado
Next stop: New Caledonia! This archipelago in Oceania deserved a dedicated greenhouse. In these lands, which have long been isolated, plants have become extremely specialised: 76% of the species exist nowhere else! This specificity is a source of delight for scientists...and visitors to the Museum. The greenhouse presents this flora in all its diversity, through five environments: the rain forest, the dry forest, the mining maquis, the savannah and the mangrove. This is an opportunity to admire majestic local tree ferns or endemic species that have become rare in the wild.
Back to roots
A final greenhouse traces the long history of plant evolution, from their conquest of the emerged land to the appearance of the flower. An adventure that began at least 430 million years ago, which saw the development of several reproduction processes. Modern representatives of ancient species - ferns, conifers, horsetails -, fossils and reconstructions of extinct plants paint a hauntingly beautiful shade of green. They show how necessary plants are for the constitution of the earth's atmosphere, as well as for the appearance of animal life and therefore... of Man.
Of metal and glass
An exceptional collection needs a magnificent setting! The greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes are the descendants of the orangeries, designed to protect the fragile trees of what is still called le Jardin royal (the Royal Garden) from frost. They were followed by the first real greenhouse documented on the initiative of Sébastien Vaillant in the 18th century, and then by three constructions, one of which was built under the aegis of Buffon in the following century, and finally destroyed. The buildings visible today, unique in scale and style, were built between 1834 and 1876, marking a turning point with the addition of metal to the glass. This was followed by a large winter garden in 1930 and la Serre des déserts et milieux arides (Desert and Arid Environments Greenhouse) in 2005.
Our friends the plants
All these buildings, classified as historic monuments, were renovated between 2005 and 2010, during an unprecedented project. The aim? To restore their original appearance and preserve their magic, while modernising their operation. Four greenhouses are now open to the public, instead of two. Thanks to redesigned staging, they convey an essential message: no human life without flora. But we must preserve all the plant diversity. Easier said than done? Every journey begins with a first step. Take that step...
How to find us
57 rue Cuvier
57 rue Cuvier