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