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 newly renovated, rock-laden Galerie de Minéralogie. The botanical and rose gardens are impressive, and plant lovers won't want to miss the towering greenhouses (serre in French)—they 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 1794 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.
Entrances on Rue Geoffroy-St-Hilaire, Rue Cuvier, Rue de Buffon, and Quai St-Bernard, Paris, 75005, France