I love zoos, but have to say the Paris Zoo is rather expensive and rather lacking in animals. However, while the price isn’t worth it for the animals, it is worth it for the architecture.
The buildings date from 1827 up to 1983 for the bird aviary. There is a real fairy tale feel to the building, and the zoo has had little updating over the years.
The zoo is the oldest civil zoo in the world, with the official name Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes. It’s part of perhaps my favorite part of Paris to explore, the Jardin des Plantes area in Paris. Flowers galore, my favorite museum in the world, and of course the zoo.
There are no larger animals, but many small ones and a sweet area for younger children featuring guinea pigs and farm animals.
One of my French friends joked that Paris doesn’t have a bigger zoo as “whenever we have a war, we tend to eat our zoo.” In other words, the Franco Prussian War (where the beloved elephants Castor and Pollux were eaten) is why Paris just can’t have a nice zoo.
I admit I’m a sucker for the zoo, people watching is lovely as art students often come to draw the animals. This is a long tradition in Paris among artists. Probably the most famous is the very aptly named Rembrandt Bugatti (of the Bugatti car family). His sculptures of animals are timeless treasures of a too short life.
Do I recommend a visit to the zoo? Of course, but if you are used to large zoos with state of the art containment for their animals, you will be disappointed. If you want to see quaint vintage buildings, and small animals well cared for, the zoo is a must.
Just remember, no eating the animals!
- Smithsonian National Zoo (mfieldblog.wordpress.com)
- Frantic scene at the zoo: ‘We could have had hippos god knows where’ (with video) (calgaryherald.com)
- A Photographic Escher (fansinaflashbulb.wordpress.com)
- Paris: Notre Dame (ahistoriansadventures.wordpress.com)