Jardin des Plantes is a botanical garden in France which is also a department that belongs to Muséum national d’histoire naturelle. It is located on the left bank of Seine River in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. The area of this garden is 28 hectares wide which also includes the museum mention above and a small zoo inside the garden. The zoo and the beauty of the garden have attracted not only Parisians, but also tourists from all over the world.
Jardin des Plantes History
Jardin des Plantes was originally set up as a royal garden to grow medicinal plants in 1626 and known as Jardin du Roi. The designer of the garden was Guy de La Brosse, a physician who served Louis XIII privately.
The garden then was open to public in 1640. After a while, the garden started to lose its shape until Jean-Baptiste Colbert took the task to be in charge as its administrator. In 1693, he appointed Dr. Guy-Crescent Fagon to rejuvenate the garden. Dr. Fagon made up a team of botanical experts consisted of Antoine de Jussieu, Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, and Adrien-Henri.
In 1739, Comte de Buffon stepped up as Jardin des Plantes’ curator. He expanded the garden, made changes, and added a labyrinth which now becomes the main attraction of the garden.
Jardin des Plantes Today
Beside enjoying the vast botanical collection of the garden, people visit Jardin des Plantes because of its museum, zoo, and labyrinth. There are four sections presented in Muséum national d’histoire naturelle; the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution, the Mineralogy Museum, the Paleontology Museum and the Entomology Museum. The small zoo used to house royal menagerie but they were all moved to Versailles in 1792. Now, it houses small animals which are put in simulated natural habitats. The garden’s labyrinth has been a particular interest that challenges people to explore it.
The arrangements of Jardin des Plantes are divided into several themed sections such as tropical garden, Alpine garden, rose garden, and Art Deco winter garden. Mexican and Australian plants can be found in tropical garden building which is specially built to grow hot climate plants. Alpine garden has approximately 3000 species while rose garden houses hundreds of rose’s species.
There is also a botany school located inside the garden where future botanists are trained. Throughout the year, these students are engaged in various special projects, create demonstration gardens, and exchange seeds from other parts of the world to maintain biodiversity.
Visiting Jardin des Plantes
Jardin des Plantes is located at Place Valhubert, 5th arrondissement, Paris. There are three ways to get there by public transport. The first one is by metro line 5 or 10 and stop at Gare d’Austerlitz station. Some other nearest metro stations including Jussieu station, Quai de la Rapee station, and Censier Daubenton station.
RER is the second option. Take line C and stop at Gare d’Austerlitz station too. Or, if you want to enjoy the city view along the way, you can take bus line 24, 57, 61, 63, 67, or 91.