Jardin des Plantes Walking Tour and French Wine Tasting - Paris, France

Tasting
Wine, Local Food
Activity
Walking Tour
Included
Tour guide
Languages
English, French
Theme
City, Cultural, Historical
Minimum Drinking Age
16
$
52
29
/ Person
Geoffrey F
Activity Overview
The Jardin des Plantes is often missed by visitors to Paris, and yet this side of the Latin Quarter offers some of Paris' greatest treasures.

Left Bank history comes alive in this unique wine walk in Paris. One of Europe's oldest parks, the National Botanical Gardens of France was created in the 17th century on land that was used for mass graves during the plague. In 1635 it became the King's vegetable garden, which led to it becoming the focus of botanical research and the home to naturalists from around Europe.

The vineyard, planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gamay, does not produce wine but provides a link with the earliest studies in ampelography as well as a scientific laboratory of viticultural study.

Join us for a walk through this unique haven of beauty in France paired with a varietal tasting of vines planted in the Jardin des Plantes in a local wine shop.

Vineyards in early Paris - Jardin des Plantes  
Paris grew up along the banks of the Seine and what is now the 5th was the epicenter of Roman Paris. The baths of Cluny and the Roman Arena off the rue Monge are among the vestiges of this period. In the Middle Ages, vineyards attached to the Abbeys of Notre Dame de Paris and Saint Germain des Prés flourished all along the left bank. The Montagne Saint Geneviève, upon which now sits the Pantheon, formed a large vineyard divided into ‘clos’ or enclosures, with streets still bearing their names (Clos Bruneau, Clos Garlande...)

The National Botanical Gardens

Transmitting a tradition... In the Jardin des Plantes, which has been open to the public for almost 400 years, the tremendous plant diversity in shapes, colors, and perfumes is the support for knowledge dissemination and preservation. The park welcomes you to a unique haven of beauty in France.

From generation to generation
When you tread the soil of the Jardin des Plantes, spare a thought for those before you... Though scientists and gardeners have shaped the garden, kings, queens, damsels, dandies, great ladies and turbulent children have admired the proud and protected nature of the only botanical garden in the capital, which is also classed as a historical monument. But one visit is not enough to discover all the secrets of a place that could become your favorite walk.

A research vineyard

There are 250 vines in the Ecological Garden of the Jardin des Plantes (planted in 2003), representing the 3 main grape varieties, Gamay, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir most commonly planted in the Ile de France. There are also a few French / American hybrid vines of Baco (a cross between Folle Blanche and Noah designed to resist phylloxera planted widely in Gascony for brandy production - Armagnac and Cognac) as well as Noah, derived from a Vitis Labrusca or Fox Grape. A moderately cold resistant varietal, Noah is used in wine production most notably for Uhudler (an Austrian wine) and Fragolino (a sparkling red Italian wine).

Philippe Barré, the gardener responsible for the vineyard, reminds us that the plateau of the Ile de France (the Paris region) was among the most viticulturally active areas of France. The objective here is not to produce wine, but to study the symbiotic relationships between the vines and the biodiversity around. For this reason, all ‘foreign’ plants are allowed to grow among the vines and the soil is worked superficially by mowing the diversity of plants growing between the rows. Insects are encouraged as they play determining roles in the health of the vines while others serve to control those that cause harm.

There are also a few wild vines that have been allowed to climb into the neighboring trees, which have now reached a length of several meters, reminding us that grape vines are creepers and when allowed to grow unchecked, will grow to amazing lengths.
 
Practical information
- Start time 10:30am or 4pm
- Please let us know if you have food allergies or intolerances. This tour generally includes gluten (bread), pork (charcuterie), dairy (raw cheese) and fish (ex. oysters, smoked salmon)
- Not for children (minimum 16 years old)
 
Included
  • Visit to the Jardin des Plantes vineyard
  • History of the Botanical gardens
  • Background to viticulture and agriculture
  • Varietal tasting of vines planted in the JdP in a wine shop
  • Possible bread tasting
  • Physically easy (a couple of kilometres of walking)
  • Organic & biodynamic wines
Group-size:
Max. 8 people
Rates
Per
Price
Person
$
52
29
Timing
Dates
Start Time
Weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday10:30 AM
Weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday4:00 PM
Duration
4 H
Frequently Asked Questions
The tastings include a minimum of two wines and generally three. The wines selected vary from one tour to another as they always correspond to the vines planted in the vineyard we have visited. Though these are wines made in other regions of France, and NOT the wines produced in the vineyards themselves (access to these wines, with the exception of Montmartre, is very limited and production too small to allow for public consumption), they still connect us to the grape varieties we have seen and also allow us to connect to the spirit of wine.
All of the wine bars and wine shops we visit feature organic, biodynamic and ‘natural’ wines as we are committed to living wines with real taste that don't give headaches and also preserve soils, reducing CO2 emissions and allowing water-tables to stay clean. In other words, wines without pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, chemical yeasts, chemical additions or fertilizers - wines that are made from grapes and nothing else.
We have made an effort to find wine shops and wine bars that are close to the vineyards and so walking is limited, though may involve distances of a kilometre or more, all told. We don’t spend much time sitting down, so make sure you’re able to walk and stand for two to three hours.
Of course, but there is no reduction offered for not participating in the wine tastings.
This is a decision parents must make, keeping in mind that our tours are explicitly designed for adults and feature adult experiences (wine tasting), and detailed discussion. There are no discounts for children. The legal age for buying alcohol in France is eighteen, and for consumption, sixteen.
Our tours run rain or shine and so we suggest you prepare accordingly. Much of each tour will be outdoors and in the streets, though the wine tastings are of course in the shelter of a wine shop or wine bar. No cancellations due to weather are accepted.
More Info
Cancellation Policy
Standard
  • Cancellations made 2 days before will be fully refunded.
  • Cancellations made at a later date will not be refunded.
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Overall Experience
Tastings Nearby
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Duration:
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We will drive for one and a half hours from Paris to arrive in Reims. Reims is referred to as the capital of Champagne region. We will tour through the vineyard covered countryside, ... morevisit the remarkable Cathedral of Reims as you experience the friendliness of the wine growers in this historic area. Join us as you learn the history and mysteries of the wine makers in this renowned world destination well known for its sparkly wine- champagne.

The day’s programme:
8:00 am: Hotel pick up in Paris

10:30 am: Visit to a champagne vineyard near Reims and meeting with the wine-grower
“Terroir”, is a French word that means “a sense of place.” Nowhere else could be better than in Champagne where the grapes are grown on land that features a unique quality. The Champagne grape is a product that is extracted from the soil but is also intimately dependent on the climate, vine and ultimately the human knowledge of the wine-grower. Your expert guide will teach you about the champagne soil, the vine yard, the vines and the work that is done throughout the year. Here you will learn the different steps of champagne-making, learn why the geographical situation of the region is essential and how the talent and personality of the professional wine-grower results in each unique vintage.
From classic notions about wine-tasting, you will be more particularly initiated to the techniques applied for champagne-tasting. You will have the possibility to buy some champagne at the producer’s rates.

12:30 pm: Lunch at a restaurant in Reims

2:00 pm: Guided visit to Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral
Reims Cathedral is the place where Clovis, the first Christian king of the Franks, was christened. It is also where the coronations of twenty five kings of France, from Louis VIII in 1223 to Charles X in 1825 were held. This 13th century gothic cathedral is an ancient religious jewel and a symbolic place for all European people. Enjoy yourself and appreciate the breathtaking front, lacy stonework, illuminated stained glass windows and be charmed by the celebrated “smiling angel” sculpture that welcomes you at the northern portico.

3.30 pm: visit to the underground chalk cellar of one of Reims'most famous Champagne houses
Houses are the first champagne representatives both in France and in the entire world. Nurture your knowledge about the history of champagne and how the most prestigious houses contributed throughout the ages to offer the exceptional quality of wines we enjoy today. You will be told about some of the traditional secrets of these famous vintners and thus, better understand the differences between the houses. You will taste a glass of Champagne at the end of the visit with guide comments.

5:30 pm: departure for an arrival in Paris at around 8 pm
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Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhône Valley, the Loire and, Alsace or Languedoc Roussillon … The French vineyard provides a vast range of wines, which can be complex to comprehend ... morefrom the labels, grapes varieties, blend, terroir, and the wine making process. French wines have their specialties. To advance your knowledge of French wines, we provide you a master Class Tasting with a French oenologist. With a collection of five wines and the help of a tutorial, the oenologist will provide you the different skills.

To be more knowledgeable with the technical language, to taste and describe wine accurately

To comprehend the main concepts and the specifics of the French terrain

To discover the criteria on which to recognize wines and judge about their qualities.

The Tasting will take place in a parisian ‘caviste’ and our wine expert will be willing to advise you on the best ways to select and buy French wines.