Secret Paris: A Day at the Jardin d’Acclimatation

Living in Paris means I get to explore corners of the capital often dismissed by tourists who come to see the city of light in all its splendour, from the top of the Eiffel Tower, or by strolling through the cobbled streets of Montmartre. The Jardin D’Acclimatation is certainly an attraction unheard of by most visitors to Paris. Aimed mainly at children, this garden of greenery was initially opened as a zoo by Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie in 1860.

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The Jardin d’Acclimatation was a great day out for my boyfriend and I, with many exotic birds on display, including a peacock that was roaming around the garden, much to my amusement. Back in the 19th century, however, the jardin’s animals were not so lucky. I learnt that during the Siege of Paris, where Prussian forces captured the city from 1870-1871, starving Parisians were forced to eat many of the exotic inhabitants, after they had been cooked and served by chef Alexandre Étienne Choron.

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These days, with food in full-supply in the capital, you can safely gander at the magnificent avery that can be found in the park. Access to the Jardin d’Acclimatation can be gained from the Louis Vuitton Foundation, without paying any extra, so I suggest making a day of it by visiting both of these attractions.

Stepping into this park is like walking around all four corners of the globe. With views of the Eiffel tower off in the distance, you are reminded that you are indeed in Paris, even with the lamas  and camels that you see walking around you. Turn another corner and you will see the magnificent Seoul garden. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Asia with the garden’s beautiful “Pisemun”, an immense arch that leads you into this zen zone. You will see a lot of Korean symbolism in the garden and can gaze up at the traditional pavilion, a colourful edifice that represents happiness and fecundity.

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You will also have access to the Kiso house, an authentic 19th century Japanese home built for the jardin in 1863. Stepping inside is like stepping back in time, where you can see how villagers of the Nagano region lived.

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So for a fun day exploring not only Paris, but a microcosm of our world, give the Jardin d’Acclimatation a try!

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An ex-Londoner Lifestyle blogger currently living in Paris and writing about life in the City of Light! www.parlezvousparisien.wordpress.com

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