If you live in Paris, the winter can be long and grey and and a little bit of green is a welcome oasis. I recently took my kids to the Serres d'Auteuil in the 16th Arrondissement just off the Bois de Boulogne. It was the original site of the botanical gardens of Louis the XV, rebuilt in the late 1890s and includes ornamental features by Auguste Rodin. It forms one of the four poles of the Paris botanical gardens. The green houses produce more than 100,000 plants a year, which are used in municipal building throughout Paris. One of the best things is that this little spot of green is completely free and open to the public. It's a great way to spend a cold grey day in Paris.
The orchid house is just beautiful and my daughter loved the fish, but my son's favorite was the carnivorous and poisonous plant houses. He was also very intrigued by the chocolate and coffee plants.
The garden and the greenhouses are classified historical monuments, which is supposed to protect them from urban development. The gardens, however, risk to be annexed by the neighboring complex Roland Garros (you know, tennis) and used as a reception area during the championships. One of the tropical greenhouses would be destroyed and the production of plants terminated - which also ends their educational programs for adults and children. It wouldn't be the first time the gardens have been sacrificed. In 1968 the park was reduced by a third during the construction of the Périphérique (circumferential route around Paris). The city seems pretty gung-ho about it, but various petitions backed by celebrities like Françoise Hardy are underway. The Fédération Française de Tennis will decide next Sunday, February 13th. Watch the spot.
For those of you in Paris, visit Les Jardins des Serres d'Auteuil while you still can. Info below.
Open daily including holidays
winter hours 10:00-17:00
summer hours 10:00-18:00
3 avenue de la Porte d'Auteuil and 1, avenue Gordon Bennett
Paris 16th Arrondissement
Metro Station Porte d'Auteuil