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1 avenue Albert 1er • 21000 Dijon
The Arquebuse is at once botanical garden, arboretum and park. It is home to the Natural History Museum – Jardin des Sciences and is an environmental and pedagogical complex of exceptional interest stretching over 5.5 hectares (2 ha for the botanical garden).
A regiment of harquebusiers (musketeers) took up residence here in 1543. In the 18C, the regiment’s last captain, Marc-Antoine Chartraire de Montigny, had the gardens and buildings restored and embellished at his own expense, the buildings being converted into quarters for military markers.
During the French Revolution, the playgrounds and buildings became national property which in turn was granted by the State free of charge to the Municipality in 1808.
A few years later, in 1833, the botanical garden, founded by the scientist Bénigne Legouz de Gerland, was transferred to the vast adjoining grounds. This is the most spectacular part of the Arquebuse, laid out in the great tradition of botanical gardens and consisting of four large squares divided into 70 beds fringed by box hedges. Some 3500 indigenous species of indigenous and exotic plants are cultivated here.
A special section is devoted to medicinal plants. Each year the Garden publishes the Index Seminum, a catalogue written in Latin listing almost 2500 plant varieties, and dispatches seeds to 600 or so botanical or agronomic research gardens and institutes scattered throughout the world.
In terms of the number of plants, the Arquebuse ranks among the foremost botanical gardens in the world.
The Arquebuse is also a place of relaxation of infinite charm, with flower borders and lawns alternating with shady alleys lined with a variety of tree species (about 600 deciduous and 100 evergreen trees, not to mention such venerable specimens as gingko biloba, giant sequoia, etc.).
To the west of the Garden, the arboretum is demarcated by the meanders of the Raines stream. A variety of remarkable trees are to be found here: cinaberry, American honey locust, Virginia tulip tree and persimmon, bald cypress and an impressive selection of maple trees. A colony of swans and ducks have taken up residence on a little island in the middle of the stream.