Ménagerie of Jardin des Plantes


The Ménagerie of the Jardin des Plantes in the 5th arrondissement is a small zoo which houses large reptiles, birds, wild and farm animals in a peaceful green spot in central Paris.

The Royal Ménagerie

The Ménagerie is part of the Jardin des Plantes, a vast complex that includes the Botanical Gardens, the Natural History Museum and many study collections of minerals and fossils.

Located at the northwest side of the Jardin des Plantes, the Ménagerie is France’s oldest public zoo. It was created in 1794 during the French Revolution to house the four survivors from the Royal Ménagerie of Versailles. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), most of the animals were slaughtered to feed the hungry population.

Today, the Ménagerie specialises in small animals and displays more than 1,800 animals in simulated natural habitats: 240 mammals, 390 birds, 210 turtles, crocodiles, lizards and snakes, 140 amphibians, and 900 insects, crustaceans and spiders. The Ménagerie has become a favourite place to visit for children.

All the buildings of the Ménagerie have been listed as Historic Monuments by the French State in 1993.

In the centre of the Ménagerie stands the rotunda, the zoo’s oldest building (1802-1812) with a shape referring to the cross of the Légion d’Honneur. It houses a Micro Zoo with microscopes to discover the world of the smallest creatures.

Other buildings include the Reptiles Gallery (1870), the Bear Pit (1805), and the Great Aviary (1888). During the interwar period, other structures were built in Art Deco style: the Vivarium (1926), the Monkey House (1936) and the Wild Animals House (1937).



About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations and a degree of Economics and Management.

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