Grandes Serres du Jardin des Plantes (Greenhouses)

Nature demonstrates creativity… From primitive aquatic plants which conquered the world to drought-tolerant plants, disappear amongst the fabulously vibrant flora in the greenhouses. Return to the origins of Man!

Grandes Serres du Jardin des Plantes - bande annonce

Nature often varies
You enter almost reverently through a cathedral-like Art Deco colonnade. And rightly so, for the tropical rainforests featured in the first greenhouse are sanctuaries for biodiversity, where a single hectare can be home to several hundred species of trees. Originally from Africa, America and South-East Asia, the plants form a perfect jungle. Make your way through the banana trees, creepers, ferns and orchids, climb up the rock and enjoy the wonderful view over the greenhouse and discover the benefits and functions of the various plant species.

Fertile imagination
In the long gallery next door, the heat is the same as you’d find in deserts and arid habitats (United States, Mexico, Sahara, Australia, etc.). For the plants, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate their creativity! There are great ways to withstand drought, such as burying yourself like living stones, storing water in your tissue like the cactus or remaining dormant in seed form during dry periods. Bizarre shapes also arise out of this need — like the ball, perfect for conserving water —, sometimes covered in spines or hairs. Some plants are even fire-resistant!

A natural Eldorado
Next it’s off to New Caledonia! The Oceania archipelago really did deserve its own greenhouse. In these lands, which were cut off for a long time, plants have become extremely specialised: 76% of the species here don’t exist anywhere else! A unique characteristic appreciated by both scientists and visitors to the Muséum. The greenhouse displays the great diversity of these plants in five different environments: the rainforest, the dry forest, heathland, the savanna and the mangrove swamp. It is an opportunity to admire the precious sandalwood tree and species which have become extremely rare in nature.

Back to our roots
The last greenhouse traces the long history of the evolution of plants, from their conquest of the land to the first flower. An adventure which began at least 430 million years ago and which has seen several reproductive processes develop. Modern-day representatives of species which appeared a long time ago, such as ferns, conifers and horsetails, fossil remains and reconstructions of extinct plants paint a captivatingly beautiful picture of different shades of green. They demonstrate just how necessary plants are to the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as the appearance of animal life and therefore… Man.

Metal and glass
A magnificent setting with an exceptional past! The Jardin des Plantes greenhouses succeeded the orangeries, which were designed to protect the delicate trees from the frosts. Later on, the botanist Sébastien Vaillant built the first greenhouse from stone and glass in 1714. In the early 19th century, metal was introduced, marking a turning point. More rigid buildings were erected: in the 1830s, the Eastern and Western pavilions and then in the late 19th century, the Muséum’s Winter Garden.

Our friends, the plants
All of these buildings are listed Historical Monuments and were refurbished between 2005 and 2010 as part of an unprecedented project. The aim? To restore them to their original appearance and preserve their magic, whilst updating their operations. Four greenhouses are now open to the public, instead of just two. They convey a key message through their redesigned scenography: there’s no human life without plants. Plant diversity must be conserved in its entirety. Easier said than done? Every journey begins with the first step. So take it…