Want to uncover a different facet of Paris? Head for the Greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes to get a taste of exotism in the heart of the French capital.
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Paris? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the capital. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Are you looking for a hotel in Paris? Feel free to take a look at the Captain’s article: Where to stay in Paris ? Advice & recommendations
Short history of the Greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes
To return to the origins of the Jardin des Plantes, let’s jump back several centuries. The current garden is indeed located on the exact site of the former Royal Garden of medicinal plants, created in 1635, and which would later become the Museum national d’histoire naturelle (National Museum of Natural History), to which the Greenhouses now belong.
The Royal Garden of Medicinal Plants has included several greenhouses, orangeries and winter gardens ever since the 17th century. But the buildings that are now home to the greenhouses were not built until much later, between 1834 and 1937. New buildings were added to the complex in 1995-1997, before the greenhouses were completely renovated in 2010.
Visiting the greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes
Located in the Jardin des Plantes, the Greenhouses are five in total. Only four are open to visitors, the 5th is a nursery reserved for the botanists and gardeners of the National Museum of Natural History.
Each of the greenhouses recreates a different ecosystem. Visitors are invited to dive into:
- the tropics
- the desert
- New Caledonia
- The 4th greenhouse traces the history of the evolution of plants
If the greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes is heaven on earth for plant-enthusiasts, no need to be a connoisseur to appreciate the visit. The explanatory panels are easy to understand and accessible to all, explanations are neither too long nor too short.
The Greenhouses are one of the Captain’s favorites in Paris.
The tropical greenhouse
The first of the four greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes recreates the ecosystem of the tropical rainforests. With its luxuriant plants and trees from Africa, Asia and America (epiphytes, lianas, ferns, orchids and banana trees) the greenhouse looks just like the jungle.
It is also home to a beautiful waterfall. Stairs on either side of the waterall lead up to a vantage point from which you’ll have a beautiful view of the greenhouse. That’s also where you’ll find the passage to get to he greenhouse dedicated to the vegetation of New Caledonia.
The arid greenhouse
Adjacent to the tropical greenhouse, this 2nd greenhouse is entirely dedicated to desert and to arid environments, from the Sahara to the United States, from Australia to Mexico, with cacti and succulents.
The air is here just as hot as in the tropical greenhouse, but much drier, and the climate change from one greenhouse to another is striking!
The New Caledonian greenhouse
The 3rd of the greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes is entirely devoted to New Caledonia and its numerous endemic species (species that can be found exclusively in a given country or territory).
Five environments are here represented, a sign of the incredible diversity of New Caledonian flora: the savannah, mangrove, mining scrub, dry forest and humid forest.
The historical greenhouse
The last greenhouse traces the history of plants. If botany is not your forte, don’t panic! The explanations are simple and understandable: everyone can enjoy the visit, connoisseurs and neophytes alike.
Visitors are invited to discover representatives of ancestral species, fossils of plants and reconstructions of plants that have disappeared.
Getting to the Jardin des Plantes
Located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris the Jardin des Plantes is very easily accessible by public transport:
- The metro/RER stations Gare d’Austerlitz (lines 5 and 10, RER C), Censier Daubenton (line 7) and Jussieu (line 10) are all within walking distance.
- Buses 24, 57, 61, 63, 67, 89 and 91 all stop at the Jardin des Plantes.
The Batobus, a river shuttle on the Seine, also passes by the Jardin des Plantes. As you can imagine, this is Captain Ulysses’ favorite option! ⛵
When your back is to the entrance of the Jardin des Plantes (Place Valhubert), the Greenhouses are located right in the middle of the park that’s in front of you.
The greenhouses are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the exception of Tuesdays, January 1st, May 1st and December 25. They may exceptionally be closed to the public in the event of severe weather or heat waves.
The entrance ticket includes access to the greenhouses and the Botanical Gallery.
Tickets are available at the price of €7 per adult / €5 for the reduced rate. Admission is free for EU visitors under 25 years of age, chidren under 3, visitors with
disabilities, holders of a full-fare ticket which was purchased less than 3 months before for one of the other sites of the Jardin des Plantes, the Musée de l’Homme and the Paris Zoo) .
There are also two specific packages:
- – Tribe (20 €), valid for 2 adults and 2 children from 3 to 25 years of age
- 3-day tickets (full price 25 €; reduced are 15 €), giving access to all sites of the Jardin des Plantes and the Musée de l’Homme during 3 consecutive days
At certain times of the year, 20-minute guided tours are offered to visitors with tickets.
👉 Find out more on the official website of the Jardin des Plantes.
👉 Skip the lines : book your tickets and visits in Paris!
👉 Looking for advice and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: Looking for an accommodation in Paris? Good news: there are plenty of options in the French capital. To book your hotel in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends the website Booking.com. From cheap hostels to luxury palaces, you’ll have plenty of options to chose from. As for the localisation, it depends both on your budget and on what you’re looking for. If you can’t afford staying in the most expensive areas of the capital, the Captain recommends that you look for a hotel in the 12th or 13th arrondissements: they’re not as central, but are very well connected to the centre of Paris. The Buttes au Cailles, which looks just like a small village, is one of the Captain’s favourite neighbourhoods in Paris. If you’d rather stay in a chic and sophisticated hotel, here are the best 3 options according to the Captain: the St. James , the Dokhan’s and the Metropolitan .
🎟️ Activities : in order to book skip-the-line tickets, tours and activities in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends GetYourGuide and Civitatis. Guided tours, entrance tickets, cruises, unusual activities: there’s plenty to chose from. If you want to avoid queuing to get into museums and monuments, the Captain suggests opting for skip-the-line tickets.
⛵ City cruises: Can you really visit Paris without going on a cruise on the Seine? The Captain loves sailing on the river and admiring the emblematic monuments of the French capital, especially at nightfall. You will find a large selection of cruises in Paris here.
🎫 City cards : If you’re planning on staying in Paris for a few days, you should definitely consider investing in a city card giving access to the capital’s top museums and landmarks. which includes access to the most famous monuments in Paris.
🚐 Transfers: the parisian airports are located outside the city and getting to the city centre can be quite expensive.
If your budget is tight, the Captain recommends the RATP shuttles that will drop you off at Opera if you’re coming from Roissy airport and at Denfert-Rochereau if you’re coming from Orly airport.
But for a few extra euros, you can book a transfer that will take you directly to your hotel.
If you are traveling in a group, this option is all the more interesting. Find out more here.
🚌 Transports: While you’ll be able to explore part of the city on foot, you will have to use the parisian public transports to explore some of the capital’s landmarks. In order to avoid accumulating (and losing) metro tickets, the Captain recommends opting for an unlimited transport pass. You can buy it directly at in any metro station.
Open tour buses (audioguides included) are also a good option.
If you’d rather explore Paris on a boat, you will love the batobus, a river shuttle on the Seine !
✈️ Flights, trains & buses : Good news: getting to Paris is quite easy! If you’re planning on flying to the capital, the Captain recommends Skyscanner, an online comparator which is perfect for finding the best deals. If your dates are flexible, you can even compare prices over several weeks. Paris is also easily accessible by train and bus. To book your tickets, the Captain highly recommends Omio, which integrates the offer of 207 train and bus companies in 44 countries.
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