With spaces dedicated to plants, animals, minerals and human beings alike, the Muséum Nationale d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris is a group of museums, gardens, galleries and even zoos throughout the Île-de-France region dedicated to natural treasures.
The Muséum offers a number of possibilities to satisfy the curiosity of all visitors: from children to adults, from traditional visits to virtual reality, in the heart of Paris or outside the city.
The Jardin des Plantes is composed of a long row of trees, plants and pathways, explored by Parisians for nearly 400 years and now classed as a historical monument. Its Jardin de l’École de Botanique, rose garden, eco garden, vegetable garden and more can be explored freely or in a guided tour for a walk that is always changing thanks to different seasons in which the plants blossom. Notably, springtime brings Japanese cherry trees in full bloom, a breathtaking sight.
More info on the Jardin des Plantes
The Grande Galérie de l’Évolution impresses children and adults alike with its amazing collection: the gigantic skeleton of a southern right whale, coral reefs, taxidermy elephants, buffalo and giant squid and more. Different studies by naturalists such as Darwin and Lamarck let visitors get to grips with the classification of species and laws of genetic inheritance. Finally, an entire new level is dedicated to the relationship between human beings and the environment – immerse yourself in biodiversity!
More info on the Grande Galérie de l’Évolution
The superb Ménagerie of the Jardin des Plantes, with architecture as interesting as its animals, houses over 1,000 species, including some that are endangered. Birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, spiders, crustaceans and more populate this centre of nature and science. And don’t miss the zoo’s stars: the red pandas.
More info on the Ménagerie of the Jardin des Plantes
These iridescent structures situated on the way to the Ménagerie are the Jardin des Plantes’ large greenhouses. The four separate buildings each house plant life from a different ecosystem: humid tropical forests, deserts and arid landscapes, New Caledonia and the history and evolution of plants. Together they form an incredible homage to the flora of our planet and offer a unique journey to all four corners of the Earth.
More information on the Grandes Serres of the Jardin des Plantes
Several other sites help make up the Muséum’s 23 hectares of spaces dedicated to research and discovery of our planet’s riches. The Galerie de Minéralogie et de Géologie brings together countless collections of giant crystals, rare minerals, meteorites and other geological specimens that explain how our solar system works and how our planet was formed.
The Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie Comparée exhibits the skeletons of many extinct and existing species, and the Galerie Botanique is the oldest herbarium in the world, with several million plants classified and displayed for public viewing. The Galerie des Enfants is a fun space where children aged 6 to 12 can learn and discover the flora and fauna of Paris with nature activities and interactive games.
Finally, the Muséum is the first in France to offer a virtual reality room, the Cabinet de Réalité Virtuelle. Located in the Grande Galerie de L’Évolution, it offers two ‘voyages’ to let you travel into prehistory, discovering long-dead giants and even hunting for meteorites around Paris.
Moving away from the city centre, the Muséum offers more locations for you to discover.
The Parc Zoologique de Paris in the Bois de Vincennes is one such venue. With a commitment to defending biodiversity, this modern zoo with its iconic towering boulder takes visitors on a journey from Sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America, stopping by the North and South poles, the islands of the Indian Ocean and more, all in five distinct bio-zones. Various other routes also let you discover how the zoo is run, from the kitchen to the veterinary clinic. The zoo offers a range of activities, such as headphone discos, themed tours, ornithology sessions and even feeding the animals!
More info on the Parc Zoologique de Paris
How many languages are spoken in the world? Why are there different hair colours? What did Neanderthals look like? Here are just some of the questions that the Musée de l’Homme can help you answer in a fun and accessible way. Situated in the heart of Paris’ 16th arrondissement, not far from the Eiffel Tower, this museum houses a lab to help visitors better understand the past and future of the human race. Adults and children alike will enjoy the informative and immersive permanent collection, as well as workshops and temporary exhibitions.
More info on the Musée de l’Homme
Over 2,500 species of trees and 8,000 plants share a home in the Arborétum de Versailles-Chèvreloup, a veritable city of plant life. In greenhouses or outdoors, these mainly wild plants grow in a 200 hectare space where curious visitors can explore routes organized by geographical origin or botanical characteristics. Immerse yourself in nature at the edge of Paris.
Plus de 2500 espèces d’arbres et 8000 de plantes cohabitent au sein de l’arborétum de Versailles-Chèvreloup, véritable ville pour végétaux. Sous serres ou en extérieur, sauvages pour la plupart, ces plantes évoluent dans un espace de 200 hectares que les curieux peuvent visiter au hasard des allées classées selon les origines géographiques ou particularités botaniques. Une immersion dans la nature aux portes de Paris.
More info on the Arborétum de Versailles-Chèvreloup
Immersive, innovative and accessible to all
> Much more than just a museum, the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle is a dynamic institution where visitors take an active role in their own experience. It also offers several related mobile apps for games and observation: the Galerie de la Paléontologie’s app presents and explains its fossil collection, ‘Birdlab’ lets visitors better understand the behaviour of birds, ‘Allen mène l’enquête’ (‘Allen leads the investigation’, in French only, English coming soon) gets children exploring the Galerie de l’Homme, and ‘Le voyage d’Adeline la girafe’ (‘The journey of Adeline the giraffe’, in French only) lets them discover the bio-zones of the Parc Zoologique de Paris.
> It is also worth noting that the different branches of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle were built to be accessible to everybody and are equipped with adaptations for disabled visitors: tactile routes, guided tours for partially-sighted and hard-of-hearing visitors, adapted workshops for visitors with learning disabilities and accessible infrastructure for visitors with reduced mobility (excluding certain historic buildings).