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Spring for French Gardeners

Ah, the sun is out, the daffodils are in bloom, and the gardens of Paris are finally recovering from the cold and soggy winter. Celebrate the season with a trip to one of the oldest gardens in Paris, the Jardin des Plantes, where the famous botanical illustrations (or vélins) of Pierre-Joseph Redouté are on exhibit in Le Cabinet d’Histoire. Over 500 of the artists floral paintings, watercolors, prints and drawings — all in magnificent condition — date back to the early 1800s. Les Vélins de Redouté is open daily except Tuesday, through April 27 (entry €3).

Gardening aficionados may already be familiar with the French brand “Prince Jardinière” created by the Prince Louis Albert de Broglie for his Château de la Bordaisière B&B in the Loire Valley. While the flagship boutique in the Palais Royal gardens is gone (replaced by a Stella McCartney boutique), his products can be found in the online shop as well as in the ground floor of the Deyrolle store at 46 rue du Bac, 7th.

Deyrolle is the historic taxidermy shop that went up in flames just over a year ago. But thanks to many donations and the help of collectors and naturalists around the world (Deyrolle is a much-loved French institution since 1831), it has been restored and reopened.

And now, following in the Deyrolle tradition of publishing educational natural history poster boards (“planches“), the Prince has published a new series of five planches with an eye towards preservation: “The Responsible Gardener”, “Anti-pollution Plants”, “Urban Trees”, “Urban Flowers”, and “Urban Animals”.

You can purchase these for €10 at the Deyrolles boutique or online at the Prince Jardinière’s boutique, and they fabulous gifts for your gardening friends and family. If you’re looking for something smaller to take home in your suitcase, grab a €5 packet or two of heirloom tomato seeds — the same used in the Prince’s tomato conservatory of over 650 varieties!

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