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How to Navigate the Paris Museum of Natural History [2021 Guide]

Updated on:  
July 25, 2021
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 minutes
Miriam Jaffe
Miriam Jaffe
Contributor
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Here's a quick but detailed rundown of all the Paris Museums of Natural History and what they have on exhibit. Take your pick of your favorite exhibit to visit, or visit them all! Regardless, make sure you read up on their info before heading there.

While there’s a ton of things to do and see in Paris, one of the biggest draws is museums. Did you know that there are over 100 museums in Paris? That’s definitely enough to occupy your time, but what if art isn’t really your thing? Fear not, with that many museums, there’s one for every taste, and one we’re excited about is the Museum of Natural History

Image Courtesy: Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle

The museum

The Museum of Natural History in Paris is made up of 12 sites, spread out across the city. With so much to explore, you could easily spend a decent chunk of time learning about history, and immersing yourself in all the museum has to offer. The 12 sites are made up of galleries, gardens, and zoos, so there’s truly something for everyone. 

The main area of the museum is located in the fifth arrondissement (for more information about Paris neighborhoods, check out our handy blog post!)

The sites

Since the Museum of Natural History is so spread out, it’s helpful to know what is available to see, and where they’re located. Here are the sites you can visit in Paris (there are a couple outside the city limits that aren’t easily accessible without a car, or in other regions of France), and their locations: 

Jardin des Plantes

Open to the public for almost 400 years, this garden is a walk through France’s horticultural history. With multiple gardens, you’ll be able to explore the capital’s only botanical garden and spend hours marveling at the flowers, plants, and botanical species from France’s history. You can also download a themed trail guide to follow during your visit. 

  • Location: 57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris
  • Closest metro/RER stops: Line 5 Gare d’Austerlitz, Line 7 Censier Daubenton, Line 10 Jussieu or Gare d’Austerlitz, RER C Gare d’Austerlitz
  • Open 7:30 - 20:00
Jardin des Plantes
Image Courtesy: Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle

Grandes Serres du Jardin des Plantes

While you’re wandering through the Jardin des Plantes, you’ll stumble upon some greenhouses. You’ll be able to explore the flora and fauna of plants from all over the world, housed in the environments that allow them to thrive. This is a perfect way to keep learning about botanical species as you wander the Jardin des Plantes. 

  • Location: 57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris
  • Closest metro/RER stops: Line 5 Gare d’Austerlitz, Line 7 Censier Daubenton, Line 10 Jussieu or Gare d’Austerlitz, RER C Gare d’Austerlitz
  • Open 7:30 - 20:00
Grandes Serres du Jardin des Plantes Paris botanical species
Image Courtesy: Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle

Menagerie, the Zoo of the Jardin des Plantes

Home to 150 species, you’ll find this center for species conservation and research tucked away in the Jardin des Plantes. Opened in 1794, it’s also one of the oldest zoos in the world! Take a step inside to meet all the animals housed in the menagerie, and to learn about the efforts they’re taking to preserve endangered species.

  • Location: 57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris
  • Closest metro/RER stops: Line 5 Gare d’Austerlitz, Line 7 Censier Daubenton, Line 10 Jussieu or Gare d’Austerlitz, RER C Gare d’Austerlitz
  • Open 10:00 - 18:00 (Monday - Saturday), 10:00 - 18:30 (Sunday and holidays)
Zoo of the Jardin des Plantes paris
Image Courtesy: Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle

Grande Galerie de l’Evolution

If you’re interested in evolution or seeing lifelike specimens, this is the gallery for you. With over 7,000 specimens to walk you through history, you’ll learn about evolution on a global scale, while seeing it visually represented. 

  • Location: 36 Rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 75005 Paris
  • Closest metro/RER stops: Line 5 Gare d’Austerlitz, Line 7 Censier Daubenton, Line 10 Jussieu or Gare d’Austerlitz, RER C Gare d’Austerlitz
  • Open every day except Tuesdays, 10:00-18:00
lifelike speciemens at Grande Galerie de l’Evolution
Image Courtesy: Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle

Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie

With an estimated 77,000 specimens, this site is perfect for budding gemologists, or those who enjoy learning about all things rocks and minerals. From crystals to meteorites, there is truly so much to see, and you’ll learn all about mineralogy, too!

  • Location: 36 Rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 75005 Paris
  • Closest metro/RER stops: Line 5 Gare d’Austerlitz, Line 7 Censier Daubenton, Line 10 Jussieu or Gare d’Austerlitz, RER C Gare d’Austerlitz
  • Open every day except Tuesdays, 10:00-18:00 

Galerie de Paléontologie et D’Anatomie Comparée

Are you a lover of bones? For an in-depth look at the anatomy of around 650 specimens, this gallery is where you want to visit. You’ll travel through time as you learn about the anatomical structures of various animals, and how they evolved to what we see in the modern-day. There’s even a mobile app you can download to make your visit more immersive!

  • Location: Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris
  • Closest metro/RER stops: Line 5 Gare d’Austerlitz, Line 7 Censier Daubenton, Line 10 Jussieu or Gare d’Austerlitz, RER C Gare d’Austerlitz
  • Open every day except Tuesdays, 10:00 - 18:00
Galerie de Paléontologie et D’Anatomie Comparée speciemens of various animals
Image Courtesy: Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle

Musée de l’Homme

This laboratory museum explores the history of humankind and its evolution. This is done through both a biological and a cultural lens. This particular gallery isn’t housed within the Jardin des Plantes so would require a separate metro ride if you wanted to visit it. 

  • Location: 17 Place du Trocadero, 75016 Paris
  • Closest metro/RER stops: Lines 6 & 9 stop at Trocadéro, exit at “Avenue Paul Doumer – Musée de l’Homme”
  • Open every day except Tuesdays, 10:00 - 18:00
Musée de l’Homme history of humankind and evolution
Image Courtesy: Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle

Parc Zoologique de Paris

For another zoo experience, this zoological park is the place to go. With five biozones, you’ll be treated to animals and plants from all over the world, and can watch staff feed and interact with the animals there. The emphasis is less on endangered species, although there is an equal commitment to the preservation of biodiversity.

  • Location: at the intersection of Avenue Daumesnil and Route de la Ceinture du Lac, 75012 Paris
  • Closest metro/RER stops: Line 8 Porte Dorée station, Line 1 Saint-Mandé station, Line 1 Château de Vincennes station, then Bus 46
  • Open every day, hours vary based on the season

For a representation of the museum locations in and around the Jardin des Plantes, here’s a helpful map!

Jardin des Plantes museum locations paris
Image Courtesy: Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle

Tickets

To save time, it’s always a good idea to book your tickets online in advance. Permanent exhibitions are accessible with a flat rate ticket, while temporary exhibits will be an additional fee. While the museums are clustered together, each gallery carries its own entrance fee.

  • Musée de l’Homme: 10€
  • Galerie de Mineralogie: 7€
  • Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie Comparée: 10€ 
  • Menagerie: 13€
  • Grandes Serres: 7€
  • Galerie de l’Evolution: 10€
  • Parc Zoologique: 20€
  • Jardin des Plantes: Free

If you’re an EU citizen, or on a valid EU visa, and under the age of 26, you can get into any of the museums for free!

Giant fossils in the paris museum of natural history
Image Courtesy: Discover Walks

Should you visit the Museum of Natural History?

If this is your first time in Paris, the Museum of Natural History shouldn’t be your priority for museum visits. A walk through the Jardin des Plantes would be perfect to satisfy any botanical cravings you might have, but your museum time would be better spent admiring some of the more famous museums in Paris, like the Louvre, or the Musée d’Orsay. If it’s your first time in Paris, here are our recommendations of what you should see and do!

That being said, if you feel you’ve done too many fine arts museums, or are looking to try something new, the Museum of Natural History can offer exactly that. We’d recommend starting with the Jardin des Plantes, moving into the Grandes Serres, and picking one of the other galleries (depending on what interests you) to dedicate your time to for a visit.

paris museum of natural museums fossil records
Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Get in the Paris mood!

Whether this is your first or hundredth visit to Paris, there’s always something new to discover, and the Museum of Natural History could be just that for your trip! That being said, you won’t spend your whole time there, and we want to make sure that any trip to Paris is as dreamy as it can be. 

To make your trip to Paris go super smoothly, we’ve compiled a list of helpful resources. Follow the links to read about day trips to take, how to spend your evenings, what souvenirs to buy, what to eat, and some top walking tours! If you know where you want to stay but aren’t sure what to look for, we’ve got suggestions for hostels and Airbnbs

What if you aren’t planning a trip to Paris? Absolutely no worries! We at Pilot want to help you plan your next trip to perfection. Head over to our website for itinerary planning ideas, destination inspiration, budgeting tips, and more to make travel a breeze, wherever you want to go. Bon voyage!

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