The Magical “Mini Mondes” Light Festival in the Jardin des Plantes

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The Magical “Mini Mondes” Light Festival in the Jardin des Plantes

If you are six or 60 in Paris this winter, you must visit the “mini-mondes“ lantern festival where you will be shrunken (rétréci) so you are tiny relative to hundreds of representations of insects, plants, viruses, and other microscopic creatures. For those who haven’t attended this popular lights show in the Jardin des Plantes: it’s an annual event featuring giant illuminated lanterns presented in a circuit through the gardens and charming menagerie (zoo). Previous editions have showcased different themes of the natural world, including extinct species and fantastical sea creatures. This year’s theme focuses on the tiny creatures that play a fundamental role in our ecosystems. For example, the insects that pollinate fruit trees, others that recycle organic matter, and even the bacteria that inhabit the human body.

I arrived at the garden at the opening of the garden right at 6 p.m. to dive into this new world, which is equally fascinating to adults as the many children who attend. In fact, you will want to walk past each “bug” several times. The exhibit is not only beautiful but also educational as you learn about each of the artistically lit “petites bêtes” such as millipedes (mille-pates), wood lice (cloportes), springtails (collemboles) and other insects I don’t even know in English. Near the end there was even a Covid-19 virus. The last tiny exhibit was a human embryo. Here are just a few of my favorites. The full photo album can be seen here.

The “Mini Mondes” show will be running until January 15, 2023. Open every evening at the Jardin des Plantes, except for December 24 and December 31, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Open until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and during the Christmas school holiday. Be sure to book your tickets online in advance (prices start from 15 euros).

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O’Such

Lead photo credit : Mini Mondes light festival in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: William O'Such

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William was introduced to silver halide photography by his father, Chester J. O’Such, via the family’s Ansco reflex camera and home darkroom. After college, William worked as a photographic engineer at Eastman Kodak, where he began to learn the art of photography. With his first SLR, a Canon AE-1, he photographed his inaugural voyage to Paris in 1982. This early spark turned into full passion when William became a Kodak expatriate in Paris from 1995-99. Before returning to the USA, William and his future wife Ineke bought an apartment in the Marais district. Inspired by Bresson, William continues to visit Paris at least twice a year to wander the streets, camera in hand, looking for the next vignette. His photos are available for sale by visiting www.osuchphotography.com