1001 Orchids at the Jardin des Plantes

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1001 Orchids at the Jardin des Plantes

Just before spring arrives in Paris, the Jardin des Plantes has put together an incredible display of orchids. This is the second edition of the event titled “Mille et Une Orchidées.” And just like last year, it promises an ethereal journey into the secret world of orchids in the dreamy setting of the Grandes Serres du Jardin des Plantes (the historic greenhouses).

Built in the Art Deco style, the Grandes Serres are a magnificent space to visit on any given day. But you can only imagine how much more surreal it is to walk through the lush foliage when it’s been decorated with incredible orchids.

Besides showcasing exotic flowers, Mille et Une Orchidées highlights the people who work with orchids on an everyday basis. These include professionals such as gardeners, botanists, and producers, alongside passionate amateurs.

Orchids have been a subject of endless fascination. While a lay person like myself might see in these flowers a delicate beauty that I can only describe as otherworldly, botanists seem in them the subject of scientific and intellectual inquiry (morphology, fertilization, etc).

Orchids belong to a family of flowering plants called Orchidaceae. They are striking for their bright colors. Many orchids are also epiphytal, which means that they usually grow on top of other trees and plants, with the help of aerial roots.

Orchids are also among some of the most economically viable plant families. For example, did you know that the vanilla plant is actually an orchid? 

Historically, France has about 160 species of orchids, not counting natural hybrids. In order to provide visitors with an immersive experience of the orchid world, the Jardin des Plantes has converted its greenhouses filled with lush plants into an exhibition of orchids in their natural habitat.

Here, you can walk through what feels like a tropical forest, while stopping to admire orchids growing up on trees, hoisted in makeshift plant displays, as well as orchids planted on soil. Purple orchids cascade down from up above, while a kaleidoscope of pink, white and orange orchids dot the floor. 

Right next to the event venue, a display and shopping space has been set up. Here you can buy gorgeous orchids for your home, along with seeds and supplies to fulfill just about any of your orchid needs. The vendors are orchid growers and specialists, who are not just passionate about the subject but also knowledgeable. So, in case you need any advice, you can be sure you’re in good hands. 

Practical Information 

Dates: From 8 February – 4 March 2024. Open every day (except Tuesdays) 

Tickets: €7 to €9 (book online at the Jardin des Plantes website) 

Address: Grandes Serres du Jardin des Plantes, 57 rue Cuvier, 5th arrondissement

Lead photo credit : 1001 orchids at the Jardin des Plantes. Photo credit: Pronoti Baglary

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Pronoti is a freelance writer and photographer based in Paris. When she is not writing or learning French, she spends her time exploring Parisian oddities and delights. A sociologist by training, she is interested in everything related to society and culture including food, language and architecture. She shares photographs and tid-bits about her life in France on her Instagram @paris_shuffle and on her blog The Shuffle.