A Dark Paris Past: Abandoned Human Zoo in Vincennes Woods

Travel & Personal
July 30, 2016

Abandoned places are just my thing. This one has been on my list for awhile after my mom discovered it on the inter-workings of the web and finding new [and bizarre] things for us to see in beautiful Paris.

In a nutshell: in the late 19th and early 20th century there was a trend of having ‘Colonial Exhibitions’ that displayed wonders of exotic places in the world without having to travel to remote locations. This included bringing in wildlife, recreating architecture + [horrifyingly] native people. In short, human zoos.

These were very popular and took place all around the world to promote education and as a form of odd entertainment. Paris included.

There were an estimated two million people that visited the exhibition when it was opened from May to October 1907 in the corner of the woods in Vincennes. Visitors were able to see what life was like in Tunisia, Morocco, Congo, Madagascar, and the Sudan colonies. Replica villages were created, indigenous plants and animals were shipped in as well as about people recruited from all the above regions. They were paid, but not very well and were misled as to what they would actually be doing in France. After the exhibits closed many of the people were unknowingly put into touring shows of similar purpose and many died of diseases and went into lives of agony unable to get back home.

There are tons of great articles and old photos online if you want to read more.

I have some photos from my visit there just a few weeks ago. Today it is open to the public seven days a week though few dare to enter.  The Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale, as its called today is hauntingly beautiful and a tragic, quiet reminder of a dark piece of French history. This is one of the only exhibitions still standing in the world.

It is creepy + worth the visit.

All shot on Lilly the Leica (M240) with 50mm Summicron f/1.4

Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 2 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 1 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 4 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 3 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 6 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 5 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 8 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 7 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 10 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 9 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 12 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 11 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 14 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 13 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 16 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 15 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 17 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 20 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 19 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 18 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 22 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 21 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 24 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 23 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 27 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 26 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 25 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 29 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 28 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 31 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 30 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 33 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 32 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 35 Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale Human Zoo in Vincennes Zoo Paris France Abadnoned 34

When I’m not seeking out abandoned places I also shoot Weddings + Wonderful People all over the world!

Related Posts
Featured
red dress in the city.
from time to time i enjoy being in front of the camera. this time i had a red dress + found myself in downtown. these were taken with my shooting partner in crime. we shoot together teri b // destination wedding photographer in california + europe
Read the Post
blossoms + street life: tokyo travels
A year ago this week I traveled to Japan for the first time with my mom. I really had no idea what to expect from Tokyo. I discovered a fast-paced, industrial mecca filled with [lots of] very polite people, colorful signs and cherry blossoms. These are just a few of the places we explored in the few days we got to spend in the city including a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo Imperial Palace parks and grounds, Shibuya Station and various places along the way. Neither one of us eats fish so we had pizza for dinner. The metro was very confusing, we didn't travel with a tour group so we were on our own. Grateful for the strang ...
Read the Post
[I was sick the whole time in] Hong Kong
This city was a struggle for me. After two and a half weeks in mainland China I caught some kind of stomach bug during our very last couple days in Hong Kong. It was challenging. Highlights: Most people know English. Signs and businesses cater to English speakers. They were under British rule for nearly 150 years and you can feel it. We found french wine and a baguette that was actually pretty good. No one goes to Hong Kong Disneyland, lines are short and you can do everything in a day. I was sick so we were forced to everything in a half day which still was pretty great. Some parts are like a ghost town. Mystic Manor. Things a ...
Read the Post