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What you will do
This itinerary will be one of various experiences you may not have thought of while deciding to visit Paris Latin Quarter. It will be a decidedly relaxing, family-type, and exotic few hours of your time.
It can be done in less than half a day, but don't be afraid to spend the whole day on it if you want - especially with children at the Menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes (but only if you're comfortable with the idea of a small zoo as a decent habitat for animals).
Obviously a sunny weather will make everything better, but if it's rainy, just spend some time at the Great Mosque and at the Great Gallery of Evolution, then go eat something - this will be already enough to make this day something to remember.
Step by step
- From Place Monge subway station (line 7), for instance, take Larrey street, which will turn right to lead you to du Puis-de-l'Ermite square, from where you'll see the mosque. 1
- Now find Daubenton street, south of the mosque, and enter the Jardin des Plantes at 36, Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire street. The Great Gallery of Evolution is just there. 2
- Now walk across the Jardin des Plantes up to the 1930-style Dodo carousel (2 euros a ride) where children can hop onto endangerered or already extinct animal species. Then go north to the ecological garden, have a stroll here, and head west to the Menagerie, whose entrance you'll find to your right. 3
- Exit the Menagerie near the Botanical School, turn left to find the amazing Alpine Garden where all sorts of mountain plants benefit from various microclimatic conditions. Then head west again, past the big greenhouses, in the direction of Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire and Cuvier streets. 4
- Take Linné street. At number 14, you'll find a nice restaurant called l'Arbre à Cannelle ("the cinammon tree") and its delicious home-made pastries. Further away on Linné street, turn left into des Arènes street and you're done. 5