The Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale was originally the site of an experimental nursery that searched for ways to improve the cultivation of tropical plants and trees that would then be sent out for planting across the empire. The hothouses in the gardens were filled with exotic trees including coffee, cocoa, banana, and vanilla, and attempts were also made to grow these plants outside on site.
In 1907, the site was put on the map when a spectacular colonial exhibition was organized in the gardens. Based around several distinct villages representing all the corners of the French empire (Indochine, Madagascar, Congo, Sudan, Tunisia, and Morocco), it was also something akin to a human zoo, with inhabitants from these territories brought over to live in the villages and be "observed" by curious visitors for the duration of the exhibition (May to October).
Ten years later, the site served as World War I hospital before descending into ruin for decades as a secret, locked-away location. Today, it is a public garden, but ghostly traces of the past remain in its decaying structures and wild shrubbery.
More sedate and less wild today, the gardens are nevertheless spectacular and exotic in spring, and are wonderfully photogenic. On this special Obscura Day excursion, you will learn about the history of the site and other colonial exhibitions in Paris. We will finish the visit with a picnic, for those who wish to stay.
This event is limited to 30 adults (€5 for adults; children under 15 free). Reserve your tickets below!
- Meet up for our tour at 11am at the Nogent sur Marne railway station (RER A), roughly 20 minutes from the centre of Paris.
- Stay for a picnic (weather permitting!)
- Free for children under 15 (but please still be sure to RSVP for a ticket).
We are very happy to partner with Invisible Paris for this bucolic, historic, and cultural adventure.
Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.
Check out our full lineup of amazing adventures taking place all around the world on Obscura Day, our annual celebration of discovery!
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