The Jardin des plantes de Montpellier (4.5 hectares) is a historic botanical garden and arboretum maintained by the Montpellier University.
The garden was established in 1593 by letters patent from King Henri IV, under the leadership of Pierre Richer de Belleval, professor of botany and anatomy. It is France's oldest botanical garden, inspired by the Orto botanico di Padova (1545) and in turn serving as model for the Jardin des Plantes de Paris (1626).
The Montagne de Richer lies within the garden's oldest section, which also now contains a systematic garden. The garden was expanded twice in the 19th century. Its orangery was designed by Claude-Mathieu Delagardette (1762–1805) and completed in 1804, the arboretum was landscaped in 1810, and the English Garden, with pool and greenhouse, dates from 1859. The monumental Martins greenhouse opened in 1860.
Today the garden contains about 2,680 plant species, including 500 native to the Mediterranean region. Of these roughly 2,000 species are grown outdoors, and 1,000 under glass.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.