At the north eastern edge of the Bois de Vincennes, lies a half hidden glimpse into the past. The Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale was created for the Colonial Exhibition of 1907, and consisted of various different pavilions, each representing the colonies of the old French Empire – Indochina, Madagascar, Sudan, Guyana, the Congo and North Africa, including Tunisia and Morocco. Later used to grow and study plants brought back from these colonies, it is now almost completely derelict – the gardeners clear what is necessary to keep the pathways and buildings clear but otherwise nature has taken over once again.
The Indochina pavilion has been carefully restored, and gives a wonderful idea of how this fascinating site must have looked all those years ago, and could possibly look again. It’s now used for temporary art exhibitions.
It’s a strange and quite enchanting place, turn a corner in the wood and you suddenly come across a stupa, or a Chinese pavilion. Time really seems to have stood still here, and the contrast of these silent old buildings with the families picnicking nearby in the park is quite ethereal and beautiful.
- Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale, 45 bis avenue de la Belle Gabrielle, 75012 Paris. metro: RER A Nogent sur Marne then 10 minutes walk. Open daily from 9:30, free entry.