Feels special : The Vivarium at the ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, Paris, France

Remember that we went to the Jardin des Plantes’ zoo a few weeks back?
It was freezing cold that day and the place was understandably desert. Despite the harsh temperatures it succeeded in making us get that exotic thrill we oh-so-craved. The leopard sure helped, but it’s the vivarium that really transported me back to tropical memories. I might as well put the Indiana Jones reference out there right now, because with that crumbling 1926 building filled with antique wooden windows and, well, reptiles, this is the first thing that comes to mind.

And do you know what these cold-blooded darlings like? They like their haunt to be hot and humid, like back in the old country. This means that, as you push the old door of the vivarium, you immediately get that warm and sticky feeling of the tropics. Like stepping out of the plane in Mumbai in the middle of a hot night. You even get that slightly moldy smell of wet wood, you know, the one you can’t shake from your clothes at the end of a trip? My friends, on a freezing January day, all of this felt straight out delightful.
There is an added photographic benefit to that wet atmosphere: when you’re coming from outside, a mist of condensation instantly forms on your lens, giving a wet haze to the pictures.

I leave you with the snakes, the iguanas, the lizards, the frogs and the crocodiles, let’s pretend we’re not in Paris for a minute.


Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, 57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, open Mon-Sun 9-5pm

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