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Fodor's Paris 2014
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Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Gardens)
Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Gardens) Review
Opened in 1640 and once known as the Jardin du Roi (or King's Garden), this sprawling patch of greenery is a neighborhood gem. It's home to several gardens and various museums, all housed in 19th-century buildings whose original architecture blends glass with ornate ironwork. If you have kids, take them to the excellent Grande Galerie de l'Évolution or one of the other natural-history museums here: the Galerie de Paléontologie, stocked with dinosaur and other skeletons, and the rock-laden Galerie de Minéralogie (which will welcome visitors again in late 2014 after a makeover). The botanical and rose gardens are impressive, and plant lovers won't want to miss the towering greenhouses (serre in French). After a five-year renovation, they reopened in 2010 and are filled with one of the world's most extensive collections of tropical and desert flora. If the kids prefer fauna, visit the Ménagerie, a small zoo founded in 1795 whose animals once fed Parisians during the 1870 Prussian siege. The star attractions are Nénette, the grande-dame orangutan from Borneo, and her swinging friends in the monkey and ape house. If you need a break, there are three kiosk cafés in the Jardin.
- Address: Entrances on Rue Geoffroy-St-Hilaire, Rue Cuvier, Rue de Buffon, and Quai St-Bernard, Latin Quarter, Paris, 75005 | Map It
- Phone: 01–40–79–54–79
- Cost: Museums and zoo €4–€11 (free, 3 and under); greenhouses €6
- Hours: Museums Wed.–Mon. 10–5 or 6; zoo daily 9–5; gardens daily 8–7 (hrs vary by season)
- Website: www.mnhn.fr
- Metro Gare d'Austerlitz, Jussieu.
- Location: The Latin Quarter
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