Open to hear a description of the Jardin des Plantes in French and then read the full-text with highlighted vocabulary below: French lessons for the Jardin des Plantes (opens with QuickTime Player and Windows Media Player).
Public transportation: metros at Gare d’Austerlitz or Gare de Lyon; buses 24, 57, 61, 63, 67, 89 and 91; or Batobus: Jardin des Plantes stop
Hours: Open everyday from 9am to 6pm, including bank holidays
Admission fees: 10€ adults, 8€ 4-16 years, and free for children smaller than 4 years old
At French As You Like It, we find students learn new vocabulary and grammar rules faster (and have more fun learning) from real life rather than books. Since Paris is our classroom, we try as often as possible to organize private classes at locations where you can use your new skills as we teach them to you. We recently blogged about how objects and animals make different sounds in French. If we were to give a lesson on animals and the sounds they make, it would only make sense that we would take you to the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes or the public zoo in the Paris 5th.
The zoo opened in 1793 during the French Revolution and is considered to be the oldest civil zoological garden in the world. In 1793 the French government declared that all the privately owned exotic animals in France should be donated to the zoo in Versailles or killed, stuffed, and donated to the natural history museum in the Jardin des Plantes. The scientists and staff at the natural history museum couldn’t bring themselves to kill the animals and instead opened the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, near the natural history museum. Eventually the zoo at Versailles was closed and all those animals were also transferred to the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes.
Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre is considered to be a crucial founder of the zoo. A writer, botanist, and life-long vegetarian, he lobbied to keep the exotic animals under scientific supervision, in their natural environment, and allow the public access to them.
The menagerie can easily be visited during a French lesson or on your own in a couple of hours. There are snack stands in the zoo or you can pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the zoo’s table or on a blanket in the Jardin des Plantes.
To get you ready for your visit, here is a short text and vocabulary about the park where zoo is located:
Le jardin des Plantes : Ancêtre du jardin scientifique imaginé par Henri IV, le Cabinet d’Histoire Naturelle du Jardin Royal des Plantes médicinales est créé en 1626 par deux médecins de Louis XIII, les collections du Muséum grandissent, en particulier grâce aux voyageurs naturalistes qui ramènent des spécimens de toutes les parties du globe.
Le jardin est ouvert au public dès 1640. Colbert lui redonne une nouvelle jeunesse et le botaniste Fagon assure sa promotion scientifique.
L’intendant du Jardin du Roi entre 1739 et 1788, Buffon, assisté de Daubenton, garde et démonstrateur du Jardin du Roi, contribue au rayonnement en donnant naissance à une classification des espèces.
Des Plantes médicinales = medicinal plants
Le roi = the king
Un rayonnement = influence
Interested in a private French lesson at the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes? Call or contact us to organize a lesson at the zoo or at another site “off the beaten path” in Paris.
Photo of rotunda by Vincent Zimmermann via Wikimedia Commons. Map by Spiridon Manoliu via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of orangutangs by Kezia1 via Wikimedia Commons.