A day with the animals at Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

Erin sat on a hippo statue

The O'Hallorans

The OHallorans

We’re made up of Lyndsey, John and Erin, who all love a new adventure. We try to get away as much as possible, especially during school holidays and variety is a must for us. That means staying anywhere from a luxury hotel to a hostel and it’s not often we go to the same place twice. 

When visiting Paris with children, you’ll probably want to spend time outdoors and find some family-friendly attractions to visit. Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, a small zoo, is an ideal way to spend a few hours as a family.

Ticketing and Practical Information

Ticket prices

Full priced entrance tickets cost €13, with the reduced rate being €10.

You can find a full list of reduced rates, and free entry criteria on the official website.

You can buy tickets either online in advance, or at the ticket office on the day of your visit. There may be a queue during busy periods.

Opening hours

Open every day of the year, including public holidays (except December 25)
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How to get there

By bus
Lines 24, 57, 61, 63, 67, 89, 91

By boat shuttle
Stop Jardin des Plantes.

By metro or RER
Line 5 Gare d’Austerlitz, Line 7 Censier Daubenton, Line 10 Jussieu or Gare d’Austerlitz,
RER C Gare d’Austerlitz

Map of Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

Visiting Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, aka Zoo du Jardin des Plantes is one of the oldest zoos in the world. Founded in 1752, the zoo was once home to animals given to King Charles X of France.  The zoo is also famous for some of the buildings inside including the neoclassical Grande Volière, built for flying animals by Louis-Jules André, who also designed the Palace of Reptiles. 

Aniamls at Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

The animals

Something I really enjoyed about this zoo was the range of animals. With bigger zoos, you can expect to see the same kinds of animals over and over again but here, there were some I’d never even seen before. Although we got a map when we arrived, we generally wandered around as we pleased, just going from one enclosure to the next.

Big cat at Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

Something I look for when I visit a zoo is how large the enclosures are, and whether they’re like the animal’s natural habitats. I was really impressed at Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes. All of the enclosures were fairly big, with plenty of space for the animals to move around, or stay out of the way if they wanted to. 

There’s a really good variety of animals at this zoo, including endangered animals such as red pandas, more common animals such as the Arabian oryx and a large enclosure for big cats such as snow leopards. We really enjoyed seeing what we could find next, and how many new and different animals we could see. It wasn’t too busy during our visit at the end of October and we had plenty of time to watch the animals at each enclosure. 

Erin stood outside the reptile house at Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

One of our favourite areas was the Palace of Reptiles, or more commonly, the reptile house! Here, there were so many different species to look at. It’s quite a small building once you’re inside so you may have a little wait to move from one tank to the next. We had lots of fun seeing if we could find what was in each tank, as reptiles are known to hide or blend in quite a lot.


The good thing about a small zoo, especially if you’re visiting as a family, is that it doesn’t take long to get from one area to another. There are a couple of options when it comes to toilets (although some are down quite a lot of steps) and they’re never too far apart. If you want a snack or drinks, there are a few small snack kiosks dotted around the zoo.

Flamingos at Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

How long can you expect a visit to last?

Being only a small zoo, this isn’t somewhere to spend a whole day. At best, you can expect to spend 2-3 hours at Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes. This will depend on how many of you there are, what animals are out, the age of your children and whether you plan to stop for something to eat. This is an ideal attraction for either a morning or afternoon visit. 

Tarantula at Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

What else is there to do nearby?

Being located in Jardin des Plantes means that there is lots to do nearby. Jardin des Plantes is a botanical garden, meaning they’re lovely to walk around just on their own. Entry to the gardens is free but there are other attractions which have entrance fees. These include:

  • National Museum of Natural History
  • Gallery of Evolution (Grande Galerie de L’Évolution)
  • Gallery of Mineralogy and Geology (Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie)
  • Gallery of Botany
  • Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy (Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée)
  • Jardin des Plantes Libraries
Erin looking out at an animal enclosure

Would we go back?

Although this was a fair bit smaller than we’d expected, it was still a nice way to spend some time. For a small zoo in the heart of Paris, it’s close by to other things and it’s not as overwhelming as a big zoo. We had a lovely time and it was a great way to spend some time outdoors. 

Read more about our holiday to Paris:

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