When it’s cold outside the best thing to do is to…go outside…inside?
More specifically, the best thing to do when Paris is chilly and powdered in snow is to get yourself to a greenhouse! A tropical greenhouse, no less.
I had the pleasure of visiting les grandes serres (Grand/Big/Great Big Greenhouses) of the Jardin des Plantes with a few friends this weekend. As we walked to the greenhouses from the garden, the wind blew viciously and a slushy substance fell from the sky disguised as snow.
But once we entered the first greenhouse, we entered a completely different world. The barren trees and bushes of the hibernating garden were suddenly replaced by lush palms and vines. A little stream wound through the manmade forest and emptied into a pond filled with fish painted red, orange and calico.
Compared to the harsh landscape that lie beyond their walls, these greenhouses radiated warmth and vitality. Meandering through the various collections of plants felt like escaping to a different planet, one that is always set at a perfect temperature, where conifers, fig trees and cacti live side by side. It was almost surreal, taking off my coat and gloves and two out of three layers to stroll through a tropical paradise while just a few yards away snow came down in torrents.
Once we had finished our tropical tour, my friends and I decided to have afternoon tea at the Mosquée de Paris. The Mosque of Paris has a lovely covered patio, where visitors can enjoy mint tea and North African pastries seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. It is located directly behind the Jardin des Plantes, making it the perfect place to relax after your jungle excursion. Not only that, the mosque itself is breathtaking. The walls are decorated in intricate mosaics and the “hispano-mauresque” architecture is stunning against the classic parisian buildings.
These two places make for a great combination and a fantastic way to spend an afternoon in Paris.
Want to go?
Jardin des Plantes:
Metro: Gare d’Austerlitz or Gare de Lyon
La Mosquée de Paris:
Metro: Place Monge
Winter? Not this weekend.
Smiles and all the best,
PS— If you haven’t checked out my guest post on the death of my pet cactus over at Travelling Caits, I urge you to do so….now. Go!