Jardin des Plantes originates in king Louis XIII's salvia and lemon balm

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An alley in the garden - ©Anecdotrip.com / CC-BY-NC-SA An alley in the garden - ©Anecdotrip.com / CC-BY-NC-SA
Jardins des plantes Garden

King Louis XIII owned lands near the river Seine, lands who were occupied by market gardeners and wood merchants. Guy de La Brosse, the king's doctor, converted the place into a school for doctors and apothecaries. From 1640, the first students came!

But the garden was short of trees: Vespasien Robin, gardener-in-chief, decided to plant false acacias: yes, because Robinia pseudoacacia owns its name from Robin, our gardener! Then they built a lecture hall.

In the 18th century, Parisians came to visit the bric-à-brac study Dubenton settled here. Buffon, from 1739 to 1788, extended the garden with a plot of land where he raised his house (nowadays, his house is the gallery of mineralogy). The botanical school was extended too, and scientists came from all Europe. They took care of lots of plants, here: 1800 species in 1636... more than 8000 on the eve of the Revolution! For extremely fragile flowers, Buffon raised a greenhouse exposed to the south.

During the French Revolution, Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire created a menagerie in 1793: the first resident was a lion. Extended in 1795 with the lion Marc and the lioness Constantine, two cubs were born: Fleurus and Marengo in November 1800. 30 years later, the "monkeys palace", the cage with pheasants and the "wild beasts box" were founded. The famous giraffe given by king of Egypt Mehemet Ali to king of France Charles X came here in June 1827.


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