Jardin d’Acclimatation > Disney?

Disney is great.  No seriously, I love a good Disney movie.  I enjoyed every minute of re-watching (I saw it in the cinema too) Big Hero 6 last week, and Robin Hood remains one of my all time favourite movies.

In my younger days, I was very luck to travel to Florida on more than one occasion to explore Disneyland with my family, and it goes without saying that I had an incredible time.  I admit I have never actually visited Disneyland Paris, but I can certainly understand the attraction to such an amusement park.

Now if you go on Tripadvisor to do a spot of research on Jardin d’Acclimatation, expect to see the words ‘great for kids’ a lot.  It’s true, it is a great spot for kids, but I wouldn’t say its only kids that can enjoy this space and its attractions.  We might be what you’d call big kids, but the girlfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon here.

Here’s the low down, along with a quick history lesson …

Jardin d’Acclimatation – A Quick History Lesson

The jardin d’acclimatation dates back 1860, when it was opened on October 6th by Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie. It was the result of just 4 years work, which had seen  Napoléon’s wish to decorate parts of Paris with English type gardens combined with the wishes of another gentlemen by the name of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (a famous zoologist), who was seeking to house a number of larger animals within the city at an alternative location to the menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes, which had been deemed too small. The inclusion of the animals in a zoo setup saw the name Jardin Zoologique d’Acclimatation used for a time.

Rides and Amusements

When it came to the Jardin d’Acclimatation rides, there were 2 clear winners in my book.

The first of these was the enchanted river, which offered a relaxing and cooling ride along a willow and reed laden waterway, kept constantly flowing by an old style paddle wheel which.

First opened in 1926, the river ride was as popular as ever and had fairly long lines throughout the course of the day.

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The second ride which bought much enjoyment was Les Chaises Volantes, a hanging swing type carosel which was first opened in 1908.

From the outside this ride looks like a beautiful antique, as if it were so intricate and delicate that there was no way it could exceed any speed quicker than a turtles walking pace.  Wrong! This ride was intense, which I loved.  The speed, the ups and downs as the ride tilts to one side.  Les Chaises Volantes was a beast, and sadly too much for some.  I won’t go into detail, but lets just say that we were in a splash zone.

Not a ride for the weak of stomach!

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There were certainly a lot more rides on offer than just the 2 I have mentioned above.  Most were aimed at kids admittedly, but there were a couple of bigger roller-coasters as per below.  There was also a number of fun fair classics, such as a hall of mirrors and dodgems.

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Similar to Bakken in Copenhagen, which we had visited only 2 weeks prior, if rides weren’t your thing, there was still plenty of stalls to keep you amused.  As ever, kids were running around throwing balls through hoops or at targets in an effort to win as many tickets as possible.

And what do tickets win?

—> PRIZES! … and by that I mean most likely a keyring.

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The Animals

Animals have obviously played a large part in the history of Jardin l’Acclimatation, they’re part the reason the space even exists in the first place.

Now, taking into consideration that the word ‘zoo’ has been mentioned previously in this post, you may be expecting to see images of great lions, towering giraffes, sleepy koalas and other such animals typical of a large city zoo.  Well I’m afraid that’s not quite the case here, think less full scale zoo and more petting zoo.  A petting zoo of farm animals.

That’s not a slur, the animals are still cute, and they’re obviously great for kids because they can get up close and touch a number of the animals, but the big 5 consists of cows, goats, pigs, lama and donkeys.

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In additional to the land animals enclosures there is also a great birdhouse within Jardin d’Acclimatation, which is surrounded by some beautifully landscaped flower beds.

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Other bits and pieces

Rides and animals asides, there is still more to the gardens.  There’s obviously green spaces to simply lay out and top up the tan, or non existent tan in my case.

There are food trucks to explore and veg out on.

There is a mirror garden where you can see yourself morphed into all shorts of different shapes and sizes.

And lastly there is a small railway, which can be used to gain access to, or leave the park.  We chose to take the train when leaving at the end of the day.  We wanted to go out in style.

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Overall Jardin d’Acclimatation afforded the lady and I a great day out, and on a relative budget.  This was our second visit to Paris, and on this second visit we were determined to take things a little slower.  The heat also helped force our hand on that too, it was baking!

A fun day out for sure, and which can be enjoyed by any age.  No it’s not Disney, but its a charming alternative.

Jardin d’Acclimatation Costs + Opening Times

Entrance:

  • Adults – €3
  • Seniors – €1.50
  • Child under 3 years of age – Free

Cost of rides:

  • 1 ticket €2,90
  • Book of 15 tickets €35,00
  • Book of 25 tickets €55,00
  • Book of 50 tickets €90,00

Don’t assume that 1 ticket = 1 ride.  Certain rides and amusements were asking for 3 tickets per ride, that’s essentially £8.70 which is seriously steep in my book!

Opening Hours:

  • Opens at 10am
  • Closes at 7pm with the exception of Friday, where closing time is 10pm

All of the above are obviously subject to change, so be sure to check out the official website for the most up to date costs and times.

Jardin d’Acclimatation Location

Located to the west of the city, Jardin d’Acclimatation sits at the north tip of a vast park lands.

The closest metro station is Les Sablons on line number 1.

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