Annales historiques de la Révolution française Nº399 (1/2020)
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This article aims to alter the usual perspectives on the history of conservation – the genealogy of contemporary protection and preservation policies – by studying how the meaning of the term itself changed in the mid-18th century, and how these changes would give a new meaning to the practices of Nature that spanned the revolutionary years. This shift was not dictated by an overarching enterprise to shape the environment. Rather, it followed a series of observations and experiences, repeated and circulated, establishing the theme of the fragility of Nature and Nature’s limit: in a word, the emergence of a new historical consciousness. Two observatories have been selected for this study, with common, yet different degrees of success, the King’s Gardens: Paris and the Seychelles.