What to do in Paris

Guide du Jardin des Plantes de Paris : Ménagerie, Serres, Galeries

Villes.fr, in its publications dedicated to the city of Paris, offers you a digitization of the General Guide to the Jardin des Plantes, menagerie, greenhouses and galleries. A small booklet from the period (1959-1965), full of information about the Jardin des Plantes de Paris.

Original double-sided guide cover

We found this little booklet at a book fair. Curiously, no publication date is given. However, it does state that the director of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle at the time was Roger HEIM. Also a professor at the same institution, the archives indicate that he served as director from 1951 to 1965. At the end of the booklet, prices for various subscriptions are given in New Francs, the currency created at the end of 1958. It is therefore highly likely that this official guide was published between 1959 and 1965.


The Jardin des Plantes and the Cabinet du Roi in the 17th century

The Jardin des Plantes and the Cabinet du Roi in the 17th century

The Jardin Royal des plantes médicinales, founded in 1635 on the site it occupies today, enabled medical students and apothecaries to supplement their book-based teaching with practical studies of plants, the substances extracted from them and human anatomy. The Garden soon became a world-renowned center of scientific investigation, exemplified by the botanist Tournefort and the famous Jussieu family. Dufay, who discovered the first laws of electricity, reorganized the garden from 1732 to 1739, creating greenhouses for exotic plants and enlarging the Cabinet du Roi, which housed the first Natural History collections brought back from faraway lands by traveling naturalists.

A. De Jussieu and BuffonHis successor, the illustrious Buffon, helped by Daubenton, tripla la superficie of the Garden and gave new impetus to all branches of Natural History, particularly the earth sciences. During the French Revolution, the Garden was further enlarged and renamed the Museum of Natural History It is then, with its twelve teachers, the largest of the world dedicated to scientific research.

In the 19th century, new buildings were constructed and major discoveries were made. Lamarck, Lacepède, Georges Cuvier, Latreille and others laid the foundations of modern animal classification; Lamarck and the Jussieu family perfected plant classification. Thouin introduced many exotic plants that are now widespread in our gardens. Haüy founded crystallography. Lamarck developed the theory of evolution; his ideas and those of Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire influenced the great minds of the time, including Balzac, Michelet and Sainte-Beuve. After G. Cuvier had founded the science of extinct animals, Adolphe Brogniart created the science of fossil plants and Quatrefages renovated anthropology. Flourens and Claude Bernard illustrate the chair of physiology. Fourcroy, Vauquelin, Gay-Lussac, Chevreul and Frémy made decisive advances in chemistry, and Henri Becquerel discovered radio-activity, opening up the field of atomic physics. Many other names could be cited: the Miine-Edwards and E. Perrier in Zoology, Van Tieghem, Naudin and Tulasne in Botany, Daubrée in Geology...

In the twentieth century, the Museum's scientific activities extended to the whole of overseas France, which was explored by its tireless naturalists. Today, 23 major laboratories, grouping several hundred researchers, are run by professors who also provide teaching that is freely accessible to all.

Plan n°1 and legend

Jardin des Plantes: Map 1

La Menagerie

La Ménagerie: couple of Zebu in front of the "Ruine"; in the background, the Rotunda

La Ménagerie: couple of Zebu in front of the "Ruine"; in the background, the Rotunda

The creation by the Muséum, with the support of the City of Paris, of the modern zoological park in the Bois de Vincennes, has not diminished the interest of the menagerie at the Jardin des Plantes, which is now frequented by a wider public, and which, in the pleasant and romantic setting of old trees and buildings, presents a large number of animals not to be found in the Parc de Vincennes. It was founded in 1793, while Bernardin de Saint-Pierre was administering the Jardin des Plantes, and first received a few survivors of the magnificent royal menagerie at Versailles, followed shortly afterwards by guests from the government-suppressed menagerie foraines. In 1798,8 arrived a pair of elephants, spoils of war transported on special carts and which had taken two years to come from the Netherlands to Paris. In 1802, au built two charming thatched huts to house the animals, in the style he is said to have preserved, and a rotunda with a five-spirit plan for the newly-created Cross of the Legion of Honor. In 1827, the first giraffe arrived in France, thus from the pasha of Egypt, if the journey on foot from Marseille to Paris, welcomed in every town and village pars from official reception which is excited to the verve of songwriters and caricaturists, during the siege of Paris, in 1870, for lack of food, it was necessary to slaughter most of the boarders of the menagerie in the course of Seine often dramatic.

Plan n°2 and legend

Jardin des Plantes: plan n°2

There are four main entrances to the Menagerie; according to the numbering on the plan (below), we'll enter through the entrance near the Maison de Cuvier (N)1), opposite which is the Bassin des Phoques (2). Next to it are the lawns where various palmipeds frolic, then the miniature golf course (3), and finally the mouflon parks: mouflons à manchettes and mouflons de Corse (4).

Before you start your visit, remember that it's forbidden to excite captive animals or present them with objects or food that could harm them.

Once through the ticket booths, we leave the Vivarium (34) and the crocodile and turtle summer parks on the left, which we visited on our return trip. On the right, we follow the small river where many species of Palmipeds swim (5) and we reach the new Pheasantry, home to Ibises, Herons, Egrets, Bitterns, Lophophores and Peacocks (6); the old Pheasantry (1827) houses, around its central basin, Seagulls and Gulls and, on its outer perimeter, Pheasants, including some beautiful and rare species: Lady Amherst's Pheasants, Mikado Pheasants, Leucomèle Pheasants (7); small parks nearby group large Waders (Storks, Jabiru, Marabouts). Crossing the river, we reach the Pergola (8) with its Parakeets, Callopsites and Paddas, then the Grande Volière (1888), covering almost 1,000 square meters, where Ash Cranes, Crowned Cranes and Geese (9) frolic.

Near the Grande Volière, a romantic pavilion, imitating a ruin (1802), houses Camels and Dromedaries (10); nearby are the Bovidae parks: Romanian and Egyptian buffaloes, Yaks, Zebu (11).
The old Rotonde building (1802) is home to Asian and African Elephants, Hippopotamuses and Ostriches, which are kept in outdoor cages during the summer months (12). Nearby are parks (15) for Cerfs de France, Cerfs Axis and Pseudaxis, Cerfs Rusa and d'Eld, as well as Cerfs Cochon and various varieties of native fallow deer, isabelle, spotted, white or black.

Female gorilla (Equatorial Africa)

Female gorilla (Equatorial Africa)

After skirting the Sheep (16) and Bison (17) parks, visitors arrive at the Singerie (18), a building constructed in 1927 and one of the first specially designed to ensure good hygiene for these very delicate animals, which, as close relatives of man, can contract many of the same infectious diseases as humans, such as tuberculosis and influenza; They are therefore isolated from the public as much as possible, in air-conditioned cages, and their varied diet is based on salad, carrots, fruit, jams and compotes, to which milk, eggs and meat are added in varying proportions depending on the species. Particularly remarkable are the Chimpanzee, the Gorilla, native to Africa, and the Orangutan, from Borneo. These three species of ape, known as anthropoids, are of great interest from both the point of view of comparative physiopathology and animal psychology.

Leaving the Singerie, visitors skirt the equine parks to the right: Wild Horse, Kiang (19) Onagre, pass the cages for Bears, Wolves, Wild Boars, Warthogs, Bushpigs, Foxes, Jackals and Badgers (21) and arrive at the Fauverie (24). Built in 1937, the Fauverie houses Lions, Tigers, Panthers and Pumas in both indoor and outdoor cages, all of which are particularly popular with the public.

Some of the wild animals at the Jardin des Plantes were famous throughout Paris, like this lion from the Royal Menagerie at Versailles, who had a dog for an inseparable companion, or this other one, who, in his bursts of friendship, pressed himself tenderly against his keeper.

La Fauverie: a lioness and one of her cubs.

La Fauverie: a lioness and one of her cubs.

La Fauverie: a lioness and one of her cubs[/caption]Near La Fauverie, a small heated building (25) houses animals whose care is particularly delicate: small monkeys, Madagascar Makis, parrots, Toucans. In the following parks (27-28), you'll find the Horsed Antelope, the Water Guib, the strange Helmeted Casoar and, in summer, Porcupines, Atherures and Coypu.

A small aviary (29) is reserved for the seabirds and marsh birds of our "homeland" - seagulls, moorhens, coots and cormorants. Further on, a long hut (30) is home to numerous birds of prey: eagles, eagles and French vultures, Andean condors, Trigonoceps, great horned owls and owls. Opposite the birds of prey are South American Guanacos and Llamas, and a few Wild Turkeys, also native to the Americas.

Reptile Menagerie

Iguanas (Venezuela)

Iguanas (Venezuela)

It was built in 1874. Crossing the vestibule to the right, visitors enter the Reptile Hall: Crocodiles, Alligators - several of them large - Elephantine Tortoises, now rare, large Land Tortoises from Chad and Madagascar Radiated Tortoises, whose indiscriminate consumption has somewhat depleted the species. Behind the glass of their cages, you can observe the large snakes: Python Seba (Africa), Molure (India), Acrantophis (Madagascar), Boa constrictor (America), as well as iguanas (Venezuela) and large Varans (Africa). In the next room, you'll find snakes whose bite is often fatal: Blowing Adders, Cobras, Rattlesnakes...

In the aquarium room, which leads on to the next section, you'll find fish from France's rivers, both native (carp, pike, chub) and acclimatized (sun perch, rainbow trout, goldfish, catfish), as well as exotic ornamental fish: Xiphos, Guppy, Platys, Tetras...

Back in the vestibule, visitors will stop in front of the elegant little American tortoises and the Axolotls: Duméril, in 1867, discovered, at the Menagerie itself, that the Axolotl was the aquatic larva of a terrestrial Salamander from Mexico with the property of reproducing normally in the larval state, but which can recover, in certain circumstances, its primitive Salamander form, thanks to a more prolonged growth linked to the activity of the thyroid gland.

The study of the Axolotl, of great scientific significance, is an example of the services rendered to science for over 150 years by the Menagerie of the Muséum, which provided Georges Cuvier and E. Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire with much of the study material required for their famous comparative anatomy research. It was also the Menagerie that enabled Frédéric Cuvier to renovate animal psychology. Today, it continues to play an essential role in the physiological field: vertebrate nutrition, behavior, pathology and longevity. It is also open to animal artists, photographers and filmmakers, who discover a wide variety of ever-changing scenes.

The Vivarium

At the Vivarium, a menagerie dedicated to small animals, we strive to reconstitute the natural environment of each species, with its soil, vegetation, temperature and lighting; often, this reconstitution enables the animal to resume its usual habits before our very eyes.

Many of the animals in the Vivarium, especially the invertebrates, have very short lives, and the same cage may contain several species in succession over the course of the year. We'll mention just a few of the most curious here.

Invertebrates include Achatines, terrestrial molluscs from the Ivory Coast rainforest, up to 20 cm long, and Téraphoses, spiders from French Guiana of the Mygales group, which are large enough to attack small rodents and even birds; their legs can measure up to 10 cm long. The Pandinus imperator, native to tropical Africa, is the largest of all the Scorpions presented at the Vivarium (15 to 18 cm. long). Among the Insects, the Enrycnema goliath is a large Malaysian Phasma, whose female has the color of the surrounding leaves, while the larva has the shape and hue of the branches that support it (mimicry). Anthia sexmaculata, large carabid beetles from the Sahara, need a temperature of 50 degrees to live healthy and reproduce; it was at the Vivarium that their larva was first discovered (L. Chopard). The Sacred Scarab beetle, in its cage, tirelessly shapes dung pellets to shelter its eggs, then to feed the young larvae. The Goliath, one of the largest. Beetles known (from 5 to 11 cm.), feeds on pollen; here, in captivity, it eats fermented bananas; it lives for about three months.



Let's take a look at the Vivarium's Vertebrate hosts, starting with the curious female Pipa toad, who lays her eggs on her back, where they remain until they hatch. Also noteworthy are the Algerian Chameleon, whose independently moving eyes allow it to explore two directions in space at the same time; Chameleons capture small insects at a distance by projecting their long, slimy tongues at them. The Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird, which shines with the colors of these two precious stones, has a beak and tongue adapted to suck nectar from flowers; in captivity, this nectar is replaced by a mixture of water, honey and condensed milk, which the bird draws at regular intervals from a small bottle.

Among the Mammals, in addition to the Grave Digging Squirrels and the Large Fruit Bat, we'll be admiring the Fennecs, small, charming, chilly foxes with large ears and expressive eyes, which have the color of the sands of the Sahara, where they originate.

Aquariums display the teeming fauna of France's ponds; in an artificial cave at the far end of the room live Protea, batrachians quite similar to Salamanders, but with external gills, discolored skin and non-functional eyes; they originate from certain obscure caves in Yugoslavia.

It's to be hoped that visits to the Vivarium will develop a taste for observing animals in their natural environment; it's worth remembering that the habits of many animal species, even in France, are still rather mysterious.

The seal basin

The seal basin in the foreground; Cuvier's house on the right, the Grand Amphitheatre on the left

Leaving the Menagerie, we come to the Bassin des Phoques on the left, and on the right part of the house where Cuvier entertained the notables of his day; H. Becquerel discovered radio-activity here in 1896 (Plan I No. 1).

Following on from this, the Grand Amphithéâtre (N° 2), built on Buffon's orders, was restored to its former glory in 1954; in the chemistry laboratories that were once attached to it, Gay-Lussac and Chevreul made their most important discoveries (see commemorative plaques on the façade).

The Hôtel de Magny (3), built in the early 18th century and purchased by Buffon in 1787, houses the Museum's management and administration. Between this elegant building and the Bassin des Phoques stand two beautiful purple beech trees (1875) and a large Oriental plane tree planted by Buffon in 1785 (4).

The labyrinth

This two-hectare mound was built around 1640, and at its summit (5) a bronze belvedere (1786) bears a sundial with an optimistic motto: Horas non numero, nisi serenas (I only count the serene hours).

In the labyrinth, a few old trees remain: two Cretan maples planted in 1702 by Tournefort (6), yews and cedars from 1735 (7), a large hybrid plane tree from 1785 (8) and, above all, the famous cedar brought by Bernard de Jussieu in 1734, whose height reaches 20 meters and whose trunk circumference reaches 4 meters (9). A column (10) adorns Daubenton's tomb, erected in 1800.

Les Serres

At the foot of the Labyrinth, the Serres Carrées (1830) are dedicated, one (11) to Australian plants, the other (12) to desert plants (850 species of succulents and 130 species of curious rock plants); near the greenhouses, the first Paulownia planted in Europe (1834) is coming to an end.

The Winter Garden, built in 1938 (13), is a large temperate greenhouse (15° to 18°) containing useful or decorative plants from hot climates: banana trees, bamboo from Indochina, palms, giant ferns and epiphytic plants, evoking the luxuriance of tropical forests. Smaller greenhouses, not open to the public, contain over 17,000 species of plants of scientific interest.

Alpine Garden

Bordering the Jardin d'Hiver, the Petit Labyrinthe was the first garden in France devoted to mountain plants (1640); opposite it lies the new Jardin Alpin, created in 1931 and offering visitors an astonishing floral palette of 3,000 species from the Alps, Pyrenees, Greenland, Himalayas... A male Pistachio tree (14) planted before 1715 has been carefully preserved, as it would have been used for Vaillant's important research on plant sexuality.

School of Botany

Completely renovated in 1954, its aim is to introduce students, practitioners, horticulturists and botany enthusiasts to the study of plants that can live outdoors in the Parisian climate. It presents plants according to their natural classification, their usefulness and their environment, taking into account the practical needs of each type of teaching. In the School of Botany, certain plants have been grouped to highlight the main organ types (leaves, flowers, fruit), classified methodically, and plant populations have been reconstituted to characterize very special environments such as marshes or maritime sands.
The dominant old-growth Laricio pine (17), the oldest in mainland France, originated from seeds brought back from Corsica by Turgot (1774).

School of Genetics and Ecological Park

The Jardin des plantes utiles et médicinales has been transferred to the far end of the Ecole de Botanique. On its former site, a School of Genetics will be set up to demonstrate the results obtained in the past, often empirically, to improve useful or ornamental plant species: vegetables, cereals, flowers; it will then demonstrate, through examples, the recent procedures for experimentally producing new varieties (giant fruits, double flowers, etc.) and for selecting and maintaining these varieties.

The Parc Écologique, which is the next stop, was created in 1938 in the former Ecole de Botanique (1843), of which a few large trees remain. Here, natural plant associations have been reconstituted: Mediterranean holm oak woods, Jura-type boxwood coppice, birch forest and, towards the Seine, the undergrowth of the Ile de France. The Carré Brongniart (20), rebuilt in 1952, offers visitors the attraction of a pond lined with aquatic plants, surrounded by trees and shrubs with hanging, creeping or curiously branched branches, and dominated by Frémiet's famous statue of the Bear Cub Digger.

The flowerbeds

From the Place Valhubert to the Galerie de Zoologie stretches the magnificent perspective of the parterres, bordered for 500 meters by two plane tree avenues. From April to May, you can admire 70 varieties of peonies; from May to June, 260 varieties of iris; from June to October, the 50 most beautiful varieties of rose; and from July to October, 100 varieties of pelargonium and 80 varieties of cannas. Finally, from August to October, there's the vast Dahlia Garden, where the many new varieties created by the major horticultural firms are officially registered.

Near the Galerie de Zoologie, the Bassin des Nymphéas dates back to 1640 (21). Between the Zoology and Mineralogy Galleries stands the first Sophora (22) planted in France (1747); next to it are displayed ancient varieties of French roses, the stock of most of today's varieties (23).

Collection and galleries

The Museum possesses tens of millions of natural history samples; many of the most precious were brought back by our great naturalist travelers, in particular Tournefort, Commerson and Adanson in the 18th century, and Bory de Saint-Vincent, Bonpland, d'Orbigny, Jacquemont and Père David in the 19th century. The great French expeditions around the world, including those of Baudin, Freycinet and Dumont d'Urville, also donated their important harvests to the Museum.

But, for the visitor, our venerable and glorious establishment seems to possess too many riches, as they are accumulated in rooms whose presentation no longer corresponds to the conception of the modern museum, where the public is shown only choice objects, in small numbers, clearly arranged and accompanied by explanations. To date, the reorganization of the galleries, which could make them comparable and even superior to the other great galleries of Europe, has not been carried out, for lack of sufficient financial resources.

However, in their current state, they contain precious documents, some of them unique, which cannot leave the true natural science enthusiast indifferent.

Zoology Gallery

This gallery, inaugurated in 1889, is presented according to ancient concepts; animals belonging to very different groups are often grouped together in the same rooms.
First floor: Hall overlooking the garden: 1. anthropoid apes close to man. 2. long-nosed apes. 3. Madagascar lemurs, primates with primitive characteristics that bring them closer to the ancestral stock of apes and man.

North hall: 4. American and Asian monkeys; 5. Remarkable statue of Buffon by Pajou (1776).

First Gallery and Central Hall: 6. primitive mammals special to Australia (Monotremes, Marsupials); 7. African white rhinoceroses; 8. Freshwater fish, Reptiles and Batrachians of France; 9. Fish: anatomy, morphology, etc. (showcases currently being organized); 10. Porcupine; 11. Great anteater; 12. Orycterope, an insect-eating mammal from Africa.

South vestibule: 13. some works by animal sculptor Pompon (1855-1933). 14. Entrance to the Zoology amphitheatre.

Second floor: South vestibule: 1 Pearl oysters and pearls. 2. Elegant Argonaut shells, Corals, wax models of Molluscs.

Bird Room: 3. hummingbirds. 4. Large-billed hornbills. 5. Birds of Paradise. 6. Remarkable astronomical clock from 1785. 7. Parrots. 8. Small nectar-eating birds.

North vestibule: 9. beautiful siliceous sponge skeletons. 10. Antarctic birds (Exp. Charcot, 1903-1905).

Second gallery: 11. Asian pheasants in magnificent colors. 12. Rare or recently extinct mammals and birds (kept in the dark, available to naturalists on request). 13. Zoology classroom (ground-floor entrance, south-facing facade). 14. Curious electroplastic casts of Reptiles and Batrachians. 15. Unique specimen of a Tortoise, now extinct, from Rodriguez Island (Indian Ocean), preserved before the Revolution in the cabinet of curiosities of the Abbaye de Sainte-Geneviève. 16. Large leatherback turtle showing the skeleton under the shell. 17. Mouflon à manchettes. 18. Legs of Aepyornis from Madagascar, the largest known bird, extinct in the 16th century. 19. Casoar. 20. Balaeniceps (Becen-sabot).

Second floor: Third gallery: 1. mother-of-pearl industry. 2. oysters and their cultivation. 3. Termites and their damage.

Leaving the Galerie de Zoologie, on the right is a long building (24), built in 1841, which houses the Mineralogy and Plant Paleontology collections, as well as the Muséum's Central Library, the world's largest for the natural sciences.
The house of the intendant of the King's Garden (25), which adjoins the Library, was bought and embellished by Buffon, who died there in 1788.

The library

Dedicated to the Natural Sciences and their practical applications, built for 30,000 volumes and now boasting 500,000 books, it is home to almost 4,000 periodicals and the reports of numerous scientific expeditions. The construction of a new library, along the rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, will finally enable all these riches to find a setting worthy of them.

Its old collection includes the personal libraries of Cuvier, Chevreul, Ch. Bonaparte and numerous manuscripts by Buffon, Lamarck, Cuvier and others. It also holds some 5,000 gouaches of animals and plants, making up the famous Vélins du Roi collection, begun in the 17th century and continued to this day; these works are very fragile and can only be consulted in exceptional cases.

Artists, particularly decorators, often use the Library's sumptuous illustrated books and its iconographic collection of plants and animals (prints, drawings, photographs) as a source of inspiration.
The Library is open to all; its books and magazines can be consulted freely on site, but are not loaned out at home. In the workroom, on the right, you'll find the information and book request desk, and in the center and on the left, the periodical and book files; these are classified by author and subject.

The Library is responsible for the sale of Annales, Archives, Mémoires, Bulletin du Muséum and a collection of biographies: "Les Grands Naturalistes Français", of interest to a very wide audience.

Mineralogy gallery

The vestibule features a magnificent marble table inlaid with colored minerals, donated by Louis XV, and a huge sample of rock crystal brought back from the Valais by Bonaparte. To the right of the entrance, in a small, dark room, are displayed minerals that become luminescent under the action of ultraviolet radiation.

Let's enter the Galerie, whose current layout is the work of Alfred Lacroix. It is flanked on the right and left by four longitudinal galleries, forming a second floor devoted to Geology; on the first floor, most of the axial display cases also contain geological collections; on the other hand, the display cases placed at the foot of the galleries, around the perimeter of the Gallery, contain only mineralogical collections.

The first to be admired are objets d'art fashioned from rare gemstones, some of which come from the former royal collections; diamonds, sapphires and topaz of the same origin are presented, along with gold and platinum nuggets, in the vertical display case at the foot of the first column on the right. On either side of the entrance door is the Pierpont-Morgan collection of American minerals chosen for the magnificence of their color and form.

The showcases around the Gallery, at the foot of the stands, should be examined starting from the left; they first contain the native chemical elements: gold, platinum, sulfur, etc., then the chemical combinations: sulfides, oxides, carbonates, sulfates, silicates, etc., and finally the mineral fuels.

In the middle of the gallery stand the statues of Georges Cuvier and Abbé Haüy. Around 1789, Haüy broke a spar crystal and found that the fragments had cleaved into simple geometric shapes; from this observation of cleavage, he deduced the fundamental laws of crystallography.

Au pied de la statue de Haüy, une grosse metéorite (pierre tombée du ciel) trouvée près de Grasse, est constituée par des alliages de fer et de nickel; au pied de la statue de Cuvier, on remarquera le bloc de fer météorique provenant de Tamentit, au Sahara. Les grandes vitrines qui s’élèvent au centre de la Galerie contiennent les principaux types de minerais métalliques utilisés dans l’industrie et de gros échantillons de minéraux remarquablement cristallisés.

Geology gallery

The Geology collections occupy the horizontal showcases in the axis of the gallery, as well as the four platforms along the walls.

The first axial showcases are still in the field of mineralogy (eruptive rocks). Most of the following showcases feature rocks and fossils characteristic of different geological eras, from the Precambrian, dating back approximately a billion years (showcase 2), to the Quaternary and the present day (showcase 161). The tour follows the numbering of the display cases, first on the rue de Buffon side, then on the Jardin side. Of particular note in showcase 25 is a Cambrian slab bearing numerous imprints of trilobites, primitive crustaceans that have now disappeared.

The two stands on the Garden side are devoted to Tertiary rocks and fossils from the Paris Basin (chronologically classified samples), and to Tertiary fossils from the faluns (loose rocks with marine shells) of Anjou, Touraine and Bordeaux. The vertical display cases on this platform contain documentation on applied geology.

The stands on the rue de Buffon side display rocks and fossils from France's overseas territories and associated states; the first is devoted to territories stretching from North Africa to French Equatorial Africa, the second to Madagascar and its dependencies, the Côte des Somalis, the Indochina states and French possessions in America and Oceania.

Paleobotany Gallery

Adolphe Brongniart's collections of fossil plants, of rare scientific value, formed over a century ago, were subsequently added to, and give the gallery its true interest.

Located in the extension of the Galerie de Minéralogie, its axial display cases showcase fine samples of fossil plants from various periods.

On the right as you enter, vertical display cabinets, arranged in five bays, contain samples arranged in systematic order, from Dicotyledons to Algae.

At the end of the gallery, visitors can walk backwards through the five bays on the Garden side, where fossil plants are displayed in the order in which they appeared, from the Devonian to the Quaternary.

In the center, a vertical and two horizontal display cases contain plants in a silicified state; thanks to this mineralization, they have partly preserved their structure, which can be studied almost as well as on living plants. Particularly noteworthy in the central display case are the beautiful cross-sections of Psaronius, arborescent stems of. ferns from the Permo-Carboniferous period (approximately 200 million years ago).

Cour d'honneur l'Hôtel de Magny

Built by the architect Bullet in the early 18th century for the Marquis de Vauvray, it was purchased by Buffon in 17879 and subsequently occupied by Daubenton, Lacépède, Fourcroy... Today it houses the Museum's Administration.

Gallery of comparative anatomy and paleontology

It was built in 1896 and extended in 1958; its first floor is devoted to Comparative Anatomy; this science, first developed at the Muséum by Cuvier and Et. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, led to a renewal of animal classification and provided the basis for Paleontology and theories of Evolution.

The room contains only Vertebrates; it is surrounded by vertical wall display cases which, on the Rue de Buffon side, present a series of skeletons of Mammals, Batrachians and Fish; the first display cases allow us to compare Man with other Primates (note the skulls of some small American monkeys with an almost human outward appearance) even though they belong to a group that is very far removed from us zoologically.

On the Garden side, starting at the back of the room, there are comparative series of vertebrate viscera: overall layout of the visceral cavity, digestive, respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems, dermal productions (skin, carapace, horns), organs of the senses and reproduction; the last 7 display cases are reserved for embryos and monsters.

Large skeletons are exhibited in the central part of the room, with one of the few known skeletons of Steller's Rhytidae, an aquatic mammal from the Bering Strait that has been extinct since the end of the 18th century. eighteenth century. Recently, the Gallery has been enriched by the Coelacanth, a famous archaic fish thought to have disappeared 300 million years ago, but found alive in the Mozambique Channel a few years ago.

In the paleontology gallery on the 1st floor, A. Gaudry and Marcellin Boule have placed the oldest fossil animals (Primary) towards the entrance, and the most recent (Quaternary) at the far end. This arrangement highlights the evolution of living beings, marked by the progressive complication and multiplication of species over geological time.

The horizontal showcases are reserved for invertebrates, while the vertical ones are devoted to vertebrates, among which the French Tertiary mammals are of the highest scientific value. Dominating the axis of the gallery is a cast of a famous American Jurassic reptile: Diplodocus, some 25 metres long. On either side of its pedestal, a lchthyosaur head with fossilized skin flaps and the precious skeleton of Lystrosaurus stand out; to the left and right of the latter, two display cases devoted to the great Carboniferous insects of Commentry (Allier). On the right (garden side), the wall-mounted Lias vertebrate showcase features the remains of a flying reptile, Campylognatus, and beautiful "fish footprints" from Lebanon.

On the left (rue de Buffon side) are the Tertiary fish from Monte Bolca and, a little further on, the famous bones from the Montmartre gypsum which, in 18 12, enabled Cuvier to make the first scientific reconstructions of extinct mammals, based on Comparative Anatomy. The end of the room is dominated by the large skeleton of an Early Quaternary Meridional Elephant from Dur-fort (Gard). Next to it, a large display case brings together bears, lions and other wild beasts contemporary, in France, with cavemen, who often had to engage in combat with them.

And so ends a walk among the great fossils, rich in visions of all kinds, and also thought-provoking. Contemplating the many skeletons of extinct species, visitors might be tempted to express the wish that a museum of evolution would one day bring to the fore these exceptional riches of our national collections, piled up today, for lack of funds, in insufficient and unheated or barely heated premises, beyond the reach of truly didactic exhibitions, which could finally fully highlight the importance of the great laws of which these pieces are proof.

Informations pratiques pour visiter le Jardin des Plantes de Paris

Le jardin offre un cadre paisible en plein cœur de Paris, idéal pour se détendre, se promener ou pique-niquer. Ses allées ombragées, ses parterres de fleurs bien entretenus et ses serres exotiques en font un lieu de détente exceptionnel. Le jardin abrite une vaste collection de plantes, avec des espèces venant des quatre coins du globe. C’est un lieu idéal pour les amateurs de botanique et de jardinage.

Quelle est la station de métro pour le Jardin des Plantes ?

La station de métro la plus proche pour accéder au Jardin des Plantes à Paris est la station “Gare d’Austerlitz”. Cette station est desservie par les lignes 5 et 10 du métro parisien, ainsi que par le RER C. Une autre option proche est la station “Jussieu”, desservie par les lignes 7 et 10 du métro.

  • Gare d’Austerlitz (lignes 5 et 10, RER C) : Depuis cette station, il suffit de marcher quelques minutes pour atteindre l’entrée du jardin.
  • Jussieu (lignes 7 et 10) : De cette station, une courte promenade vous mènera également au Jardin des Plantes.

Est-ce que le Jardin des Plantes est gratuit ?

Oui, l’entrée au Jardin des Plantes de Paris est gratuite pour le public. Vous pouvez profiter des espaces extérieurs, des allées, des jardins thématiques et de l’ambiance paisible sans frais d’entrée. Cependant, certaines attractions spécifiques à l’intérieur du jardin, comme les Grandes Serres, la Ménagerie (le zoo), la Grande Galerie de l’Évolution, et les expositions temporaires, peuvent nécessiter l’achat de billets d’entrée.

Voici un résumé des principales attractions payantes :

  • Grandes Serres : Ces serres abritent des collections de plantes exotiques et tropicales, offrant une expérience immersive dans différents climats.
  • Ménagerie : Ce zoo historique présente une variété d’animaux, y compris des espèces rares et menacées.
  • Grande Galerie de l’Évolution : Cette galerie propose des expositions fascinantes sur l’évolution et la diversité de la vie sur Terre.
  • Expositions Temporaires : Des expositions spéciales peuvent être organisées régulièrement et peuvent également nécessiter un billet d’entrée.

Pour ces visites payantes, il est souvent possible d’acheter des billets à l’avance en ligne, ce qui peut être pratique pour éviter les files d’attente. En résumé, tandis que l’accès général au jardin est gratuit, certaines expériences spécifiques à l’intérieur du Jardin des Plantes nécessitent un billet payant.

Quand peut-on visiter le Jardin des Plantes ?

Le Jardin des Plantes de Paris est ouvert au public tous les jours de l’année. Cependant, les horaires d’ouverture peuvent varier en fonction de la saison et des différentes sections du jardin. Voici un aperçu général des horaires :

Horaires du Jardin

  • En été (d’avril à septembre) : 7h30 – 20h00
  • En hiver (d’octobre à mars) : 8h00 – 17h30

Horaires des Attractions Spécifiques

Les horaires des différentes attractions payantes à l’intérieur du Jardin des Plantes peuvent varier. Voici quelques exemples :

Grandes Serres :

  • En été : 10h00 – 18h00
  • En hiver : 10h00 – 17h00

Ménagerie, le zoo du Jardin des Plantes :

  • En été : 9h00 – 18h00
  • En hiver : 9h00 – 17h00

Grande Galerie de l’Évolution :

  • Du mercredi au lundi : 10h00 – 18h00
  • Fermée le mardi

Galeries de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie Comparée :

  • Du mercredi au lundi : 10h00 – 18h00
  • Fermées le mardi

Ces horaires peuvent être sujets à des modifications, notamment lors de jours fériés ou d’événements spéciaux. Il est toujours conseillé de vérifier les horaires exacts sur le site officiel du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle avant votre visite pour éviter toute déception.

Fermetures Exceptionnelles

Certaines sections du Jardin des Plantes peuvent être fermées pour entretien, travaux, ou événements spéciaux. Vérifiez les annonces et informations actualisées en ligne ou contactez directement le jardin avant de planifier votre visite.

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