5th arr.
The Sun King’s once-glorious botanical gardens, with their 10000 specimens and association with the flower of French Science (Buffon, Lamarck, Lavoisier), were allowed to deteriorate so badly that many of the buildings had to be razed. However, thanks largely to the efforts of crusading journalists, the tide has turned. Parisians have again begun to show up en masse along the charming labyrinth’s shaded walks, inspecting the rare species of trees, the sea lion’s pool, and the grounds where children used to play and chess tournaments were held; the Jardin d’Hiver (winter garden) filled with the fragrance of countless plants from cold climates, and, last but not least, the huge greenhouse with its dizzying jungle of plants and rows of cacti. Today herbal botanists are again working enthusiastically over the seasonal beds of plants, and the public marvels as the entirely mauve-colored Judas tree, the aromas of the botanical garden and the huge Lebanese cedar brought back by Jussieu and considered, by Bouvard and Pécuchet (two characters from a Flaubert novel) to be nature’s tree of knowledge. Considerable (though insufficient) fubds are currently being spent to renovate both the greenhouse and the museums of mineralogy and paleontology. A vast zoological museum, to house one of the world’s older and more complete collections of stuffed specimens, is scheduled for construction in the near future.




jardin des plantes

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