Jardin des Plantes (Garden of Plants)
Passing on knowledge and tradition… The incredible variety of shapes, colours and scents of the plants in the Jardin des Plantes, open to the public for almost 400 years, is itself the medium for disseminating knowledge and conservation. Welcome to a haven of incomparable beauty in France.
Jardin des Plantes - bande annonce
From generation to generation
When you walk around the Jardin des Plantes, think back to those who have gone before you… Although scientists and gardeners shaped this garden, it was flirtatious girls, dandies, great ladies and unruly children who admired the glorious preserved nature in the capital’s only botanical garden, listed as a Historical Monument. But clear some space in your diary, for there isn’t enough time in just one visit to discover all the secrets of this place, which could become your favourite place for a walk!
Garden in the plural
Here, it’s all about diversity and a dozen different kingdoms to stop and admire for a while. And first of all is one of the site’s most iconic attractions - the "carrés de la perspective". Five rectangular flowerbeds which offer a stunning view of the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution (Gallery of Evolution). A colourful spectacle which changes as the various plants flower from spring through to late autumn.
Enjoy your journey!
As for the garden at the École de Botanique (School of Botany), a walk among the plants from temperate climes is very educational. The idea behind it? An eclectic selection of plants which highlights, through its layout, the link between the evolutionary history of plants and their classification. For a total change of scenery, visit the alpine garden, whose entrance is hidden in the École de Botanique garden. This private and utterly charming area is home to over 2,000 species of mountain plants. It is also home to a prestigious guest - the pistachio tree, one of the Jardin des Plantes’ oldest trees.
For your eyes only
Flower lovers beware - you might not be able to leave the following areas! Take a sensual walk through the romantically-inspired rose garden, surrounded by the branches of 390 botanical species, often single-flowered, and varieties with more sophisticated flowers cross-bred by man. Away from the pathways, the Dutch-style iris and perennial garden provides a welcome moment of calm. Finally, in the kingdom of the peonies, this plant blooms alongside the paths bordered by rocks, which sum up the Earth’s geological diversity by themselves.
And a lot more besides…
Although you have come this far, there are still plenty of curiosities to discover… In the eco-garden, for example, an enclave of unspoilt nature which represents the Paris basin. Please note - you can only enter as part of a guided tour. And if it’s gourmet knowledge you’re after, head off to the vegetable garden to discover the secrets of fruit, vegetables and aromatic plants. Finally, the explorers among you can tackle the maze. And for a prize, at the top, the Buffon gazebo, one of the oldest metal constructions in the world.
In the shadow of giants
Created in the 17th century at the behest of doctors Jean Héroard and Guy de la Brosse, the Jardin des Plantes, the historic heart of the Muséum, was given over to species with healing properties at first. In the 18th century, it became a centre for research and a Muséum, spearheaded by Buffon. After the Revolution, it continued its scientific development. The Jardin’s many buildings, all listed as Historical Monuments, bear witness to this epic history, including the Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie (Mineralogy and Geology Galley), the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution (Gallery of Evolution) and the Grandes Serres (Greenhouses). A trip back through time in which the "historic" trees have a part to play, like the Lebanon cedar tree planted in 1734 by the botanist Bernard de Jussieu, and the statues of the great men who shaped the Jardin, such as Buffon and Lamarck. Could you follow in their footsteps?