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Photo: F-G Grandin

“1001 Orchids” Opens at Paris’ Jardin des Plantes

Rather than wrapping up and shivering outdoors, most people are retreating to the insulated warmth of the indoors, and luckily for you, we’ve unearthed an exhibition that has made us forgive the winter weather: “1001 Orchids”, a tropical expedition right in the heart of Paris.

The Jardin des Plantes is a magnificent, legendary park with four centuries of history behind it, home to 15,000 plants. Every year, 8 million visitors come here to explore the botanical gardens, the Natural History Museum, the menagerie, and the Grandes Serres (huge greenhouses). For the past five years, hundreds of orchid varieties that look like multicolored butterflies have been installed in the tropical greenhouse for the “1001 Orchids” exhibition.

Photo: F-G Grandin

Orchid enthusiasts– along with growers and novices– have been flocking to the exhibition to enjoy the rare, fascinating species of orchids that have been taken from both major public collections (dating back as early as the 19th century) to major private catalogues. Orchids, which are symbols of sophistication and eroticism, at times pristine and other times speckled, come in a variety of weird and wonderful shapes and extravagant colors. To complement this stunning phantasmagoria, the exhibit features a spatial sound installation designed by the artist Rodolphe Alexis, which re-creates the natural feel of a Japanese tropical forest environment. The overall effect of the soundscape, together with the sights of these gorgeous plants, is guaranteed to transport the visitor to a different realm.

Photo: F-G Grandin

Industry professionals are on site at “1001 Orchids” to help visitors explore the various features unique to the distinguished orchid family, of which there are almost 25,000 species. Delicate as they may seem, orchids do in fact adapt to their local environment very well, and will grow just as easily in the fork of a tree as they will hanging in the air, on a mountain plain, or by the sea. The sheer diversity of these enigmatic specimens can be observed in the botanical gallery that comes after the exhibition, where photographs display the many varieties of orchids that exist in their own natural environments– including the Venus Slipper, the Butterfly, the Vanda, the Dracula, and the Cymbidium. The 150 square meter pop-up store is the perfect place to browse the finest specimens, which have been brought in by local nurseries. By the time you’ve experienced up to this portion of the collection, you’ll be looking at the orchid on your bureau with a completely new eye.

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“1001 Orchids” is on display until February 27th, 2017 at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.

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