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And if the kids ask you why the water in the sea is salty, you'll be telling them it's because the fish cried too much … ouch, can't you do any better than that? Time to head to the Maison de la Nature and refresh on some of the basics.

And so, as you know (and if you don't, it's because you're not trying), Mother Nature is poorly. And it's our fault. And now, as it's all heating up, it's high time to do something about it. We therefore salute the brilliant initiative of the Maison de la Nature in La Talaudière. Located in the old porter's lodge of the Château de la Sablière, the atmosphere is that of the "guide to becoming a perfect ecologist" - exhibitions, explanations, documentation aplenty. All with the aim of getting us to move ourselves! Wishful thinking, maybe, but we believe it. Outside, on the banks of a landscaped lake, you'll find the same instructive atmosphere with 2 botanical gardens. On one side a poison garden, the Jardin des Toxiques (yes, nature has its dark side) and on the other, a physic garden, the Jardin des Simples (you know, all those plant our grandmothers used to use to treat common ailments). The aim of it all being to help us to understand the subtle alchemy of life that we sometimes seem to have lost sight of. In any case, a whole centre dedicated to raising awareness of the environment is a fine idea. Going on a family day out there is one way of doing your bit.

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