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!
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.
Plan your visit
The Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée is not accessible to wheelchair users.
Visitors with walking difficulties: please note that there are a lot of steps in the building.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
The Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée is not accessible to wheelchair users. Increasing its accessibility is part of the future general renovation work planned for the building.
However, if you would like to visit this Gallery, the nearest entrance is at 2, rue Buffon – 75005 Paris (download the map of the Jardin des Plantes at the bottom of the page)
Visitors with walking difficulties, 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)
- not many benches in the exhibition area
The cash desk is higher than accessibility standards stipulate.
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 5pm, except 25 December, 1st January, Tuesdays and 1st May
Events and activities – Prices
Activities for individual visitors and families
To find out the activities available in the accessible sites, download the Jardin des Plantes’s quarterly brochure at the bottom of the page.
Tickets and reservations for individual visitors and families on self-guided tours
Please note: the reception and cash desk is over 80cm high.
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
The guided tours and workshops are not accessible to wheelchair users.
Visitors with walking difficulties can access them, depending on the degree of difficulty, but please note: there are very few benches and a large number of steps on the trail (see: Getting here).
Activity themes and useful information can be downloaded from the bottom of the page.
Tickets and reservations for pre-arranged groups on self-guided tours
Reservation required – Reservations service – email@example.com
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Documents for download
- Programme quadrimestriel du Jardin des Plantes (in French only) (pdf, 12.38 MB)
- Plan intérieur de la Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée (in French only) (pdf, 4.25 MB)
- Plan du Jardin des Plantes (in French only) (pdf, 773.42 KB)
- Demande d'autorisation d'accès d'un véhicule dans le Jardin des Plantes (in French only) (doc, 37.5 KB)
- Plan d'accès d'un véhicule dans le Jardin des Plantes (in French only) (pdf, 2.75 MB)