Parisian parks are another classic example of the French paradox. Usually heart-achingly beautiful, they are also often fantastically impractical and over-regulated. Like many aspects of the city, they are there primarily to be looked at, and not somewhere that you can run around and enjoy yourself. So given this fact, why is the Jardin des Plantes still my favourite part of Paris? Probably because it truly is a Jardin with no intention of becoming a Parc, making it stand out from its Luxembourg and Tuileries sisters.
Living in a city it is sometimes easy to miss the passing of the seasons, but when I go to the Jardin des Plantes I can see, feel and smell whether it is Spring or Autumn. At the moment it is exploding into a riot of blossom, giving an instant boost to my winter-worn spirits. Often I come here simply to breathe and charge my batteries, but for the more adventurous there is also the world’s oldest zoo and a selection of museums related to nature and geology. There are also several refreshment kiosks and a more upmarket restaurant, La Balaine.