©Wellcome Library, London

People stroll through the gardens alongside the glasshouses. The Jardin du Roi was more than a botanical garden. From the mid-16th century, under royal patronage, it became a centre for medical education independent of the universities. In 1672, the Paris surgeon Pierre Dionis (1643-1718) was appointed to give lectures in anatomy and surgery which helped emancipate French surgeons from their link with barbers much earlier than occurred in Britain. In the 18th century, lectures on botany and chemistry were added to the curriculum.

Coloured lithograph by Jean Jacottet (b. 1806), Paris.