Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes


City: Paris

Country: France

Region: Ile de France

Opend 1794


 Species 230


The Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes is belonging to the botanical garden Jardin des Plantes. It is the first and thus the oldest civil zoological garden in the world and the worlds 2nd oldest zoo taday after the one in Vienna (Austria).

In the beginning the term Jardin des Plantes referred only to a botanical garden of 58 acres (230,000 m2), created and built by the royal physicians Jean Herouard and Guy de La Rousse. It therefore became known as the royal herb garden. Created in 1626 and opened for the public in 1635, it is the oldest part of the national research and educational institute for science, the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, which was founded in 1793.  In the course of the French Revolution the menagerie was founded in 1793. According to a decision of the National Assembly in 1793, exotic animals in private hands were to be donated to the Menagerie in Versailles or killed, stuffed and donated to the natural scientists of the Jardin des Plantes. However, the scientists let the animals (the exact number of which is unknown) live. In due course the Royal Menagerie in Versailles (ménagerie royale) was dissolved and these animals were also transferred to the Jardin des Plantes. Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737–1814) is considered to be the founder of the menagerie. He was committed to the principles of keeping exotic animals in their natural environment, having regard to their needs, placing them under scientific supervision, and allowing public access in the interest of public education. The Jardin was free for all visitors and tourists right from its inception. While the menagerie at first was just provisional it grew in the first three decades of the 19th century to be the largest exotic animal collection in Europe. The Zoo was under the scientific leadership of the former head of the zoological department at the museum, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772–1844). From 1805 onwards the menagerie was under the leadership of Frédéric Cuvier, who was replaced in 1836 by Geoffroy's son Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire.  The institutional incorporation of the menagerie within the National Research Institute of the National Natural History Museum facilitated the academic study of the animals by doctors and zoologists. Studies related to systematics, morphology and anatomy were all carried out, notably by Georges Cuvier. Étienne Geoffroy, Frédéric Cuvier (the brother of Georges Cuvier) performed research in the area of behavioral observation. Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and Frédéric Cuvier published their results in the quarterly work Histoire des Mammifières. It was first published in 1826 and became one of the foundational books concerning the biology of exotic animals. Furthermore, F. Cuvier's plans regarding the breeding of new domestic animal species were formulated. The expanding range of species was chiefly the result of French travelling researchers, colonial officials and donations from private people, which accounts for the fact that the animals in the Jardine were not limited to local French species. The so called Rotonde was added to the basic enclosures in 1804, and from 1808 was used to harbour large animals such as elephants. In 1805 the bear ditch followed and in 1821, a so-called Fauverie or predator enclosure. The Volieren enclosure (voleries, birdhouses) for diurnal birds of prey was added in 1825, and two years later a birdhouse specifically for pheasants. A monkey house was set up for the first time in 1837, while reptiles had to wait until 1870 for their enclosure. Most animals were kept in functional, classicist, gallery-like buildings. These buildings and the zoo itself can be seen as an expression of the Imperial Power of France. In another part was the Valée Suisse which had been built as a romantic garden. Here were several small enclosures which held exotic animals such as antelopes. Some buildings from this period still exist today - the semicircular birdhouse for pheasants (1827), the reptile house and the new pheasants enclosure (1881). At the beginning of the 20th century a hibernation enclosure (1905), a small monkey house (1928), a vivarium (1929), another monkey house (1934) and a reptile house (1932) had been built. A half century passed after this improvement without any further innovations except the restoration of the bear pit and some technical corrections. A new enclosure for diurnal birds of prey was built in 1983. A variety of renovations were carried out in the 1980s. At the beginning of the 21st century the pheasants enclosure from 1881 was renovated. However, as all of the structures are listed buildings, it is almost impossible to create new structures here. However the Jardin des Plantes still exists today and is the oldest civil zoo in the world.

Last visited 2012

Phone number 01 40 79 37 94
Fax number 01 40 79 37 93
Address: Menagerie de Jardin des Plantes, 57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, France
E-mail: valhuber@mnhn.fr

Service given


Open : minimum 9am-6pm

Entrace fee:

  • Adult 13,- €
  • Child 10,- €

Annual card

  • Adult 35,- €
  • Child 25,- €

For kids: Playgrounds and pettingarea

Food: The Zoo has a place where you can get a snack


Taking photos: Is allowed, if publiciesed, please mention the zoo on your homepage

Map 2012 Map 2015 Map 2017

After paying the entrance fee we turn right and see the yak.  Following are the llamas and on the right hand the vultures we reach som antilopes. Then turning left we look at the wallabys and then the first house, its the home for the monkeys as well as the zoos only apes, the Orang Utan.  At the step fox we turn left and then have the Prezewalski Horse and the Mandrill. Next door we are havin the camels and behinde them som enclosures for goats. Back at the camels enclosure we are havin the big cats house, home for jaguars and clouded leopards. Across we are having the nurserie, here we turn left. Then following are som small deers, eagles, and som terrariums. Across we are having the aviarys for pheasants and then the flamingo lake. Now we have reached som enclosures for hoofed animals like the Anoa, the Gaur and the paccaris. In front of us id the old elephant house, now home for microscopic animals you watch under a microscop. The last animals we see are the small carnivores like the binturong and the red panda

DE: Dieser Zoo ist der 2. älteste der Welt (nach Wien), die meisten Tierhäuser sind über 100 Jahre und unter schutz - aber trotzdem ist er ein besuch wert. Er hat 2 gute Terrarien, eher selten gezeigte mikroskopische Tiere - aber auch seltene Säugetiere wie den Gaur und das Anoa

DK: Denne zoo er verdens 2. ældste (efter Wien), de fleste dyrhuse er over 100 år gammel og under beskyttelse - men alligevel er den et besøg værd. Den har 2 gode terrarier, sjælden viste mikroskopiske dyr - men også sjældne pattedyr som gauren og anoaen

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