The Museum of Natural History amongst specimen gardens. Photos from the Flickr posts by Jason Fist.
The Jardin des Plantes is the main botanical garden in France. Situated within the garden is the National Museum of Natural History (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle), which consists of four galleries: the Grande Galerie de l'Évolution, the Mineralogy Museum, the Paleontology Museum and the Entomology Museum. In addition to the gardens there is also an aquarium and a small zoo, founded in 1795 from animals of the royal menagerie at Versailles.
The Jardin des Plantes maintains a botanical school, with some 4500 plants displayed and arranged by family. In addition, there are horticultural displays of decorative plants. An Alpine garden has 3000 species with world-wide representation. Specialized buildings, such as a large Art Deco winter garden and Mexican and Australian hothouses display plants not native to France. A rose garden, created in 1990, has hundreds of species of roses.
The garden was originally planted by Guy de La Brosse, Louis XIII’s physician, in 1626 as a medicinal herb garden. It was originally known as the Jardin du Roi (king’s garden). In 1640 it opened to the public. In 1739 the gardens were expanded, adding a maze (Labyrinth), which remains today. During the French revolution the Royal Menagerie was moved to the gardens from Versailles in 1792.
The main entrance is at 57, rue Cuvier (5th arrondissement).
Open 7:30a until 7:45p May 1-Dec. 1; free admission, but there is a charge of 1 euro on weekends and holidays for the Alpine Garden only (tickets sold at the reptile house at the menagerie).
Jussieu (closest to the rue Cuvier entrance) or Gare d'Austerlitz.
An 1820s map of the paths and pavilions that cover 69 acres. Click to enlarge.
Note that it was then still labeled Jardin du Roi (the king’s garden).