The Jardin des Plantes was founded as a medicinal herb garden in 1626 and gradually evolved into Paris’s botanical gardens. There are shady avenues of trees, lawns to sprawl on, rose gardens, a sunken alpine garden, historic glasshouses, museums and even a zoo. Magnificent floral beds make a fine approach to the collection of buildings that forms the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. Best of the lot is the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution, housed in a dramatic nineteenth-century glass-domed building (the entrance is at the southwest corner of the gardens). Though it doesn’t actually tell the story of evolution as such, it does feature a huge cast of stuffed animals, some of them striding dramatically across the central space. Live animals can be seen in the rather mangy ménagerie near the rue Cuvier gate. Founded here just after the Revolution, it is France’s oldest zoo – and looks it, though there are some more pleasant, park-like areas where you can see deer, antelope, goats, buffaloes and the like, grazing happily enough.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Paris features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Why you should go back to Paris in 2017

Why you should go back to Paris in 2017

There’s nowhere else quite like Paris. No other city can match the allure of its rooftop vistas, café-lined boulevards and striking monuments. Paris’s abil…

11 May 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
20 fantastically romantic places

20 fantastically romantic places

Whether you're looking for a beautiful beach to share a sundowner on, or you want to get lost in each other amongst the bustle of a city, these are the best pl…

09 Feb 2017 • Tim Chester camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right