Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes

I've got a few things that I'd like to write about from my trip to Paris this week with Fiona (to celebrate her birthday), so I thought I'd split them up into several posts rather than write a dull day-by-day account.

One thing I'd quickly like to cover is the 'Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes', a small zoo in the Jardin des Plantes botanical gardens in Paris. We discovered this zoo entirely by accident, intending simply to head for the green bit we assumed to be a park on the map. We probably wouldn't have gone in at all had we not needed the loo and had it not been just 7 Euros to enter (which seems cheap compared to London Zoo).

Once inside, we soon saw that this was a really quaint sort of zoo, said by the leaflet to have been established in 1794! This makes it one of the oldest zoos in the world. So old in fact, that the zoo was around during the Prussian Siege of Paris in 1871, when many of the animals were said to have been eaten by starving Parisians.

Today, the zoo has monkeys, parrots, deer, wild horses, panthers, antelope, asses, these cute fox-like animals, owls, red pandas and many more animals that I forgot. Some of the indoor enclosures are impressive old bits of architechture (including the monkey house which is all pagoda-like), whilst others are scarily old-fashioned – such as the big cat house which has panorama-type vistas for the animals to stroll around in. Quite a few of the enclosures were under repair, presumably in preparation for the summer.

The zoo also has a reptile house, an insect house and a rock garden, all of which we didn't have time to explore.

The Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes is definately worth spending some time in if you're in Paris and have a few hours to spare.