Jardin du Luxembourg

Parisians love their gardens, they love relaxing outdoors, and they love mingling. It’s no wonder then that the Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) are so popular with the locals.

Marie de Medici was in a very powerful position in 1611. As the widow of Henry IV and Regent for the new king Louis XIII, she was effectively ruler of France. She took full advantage of the situation and decided to build her own palace. She purchased the hotel du Luxembourg (today the Petit-Luxembourg palace) and commissioned Salomon de Brosse to build a palace that would remind her of the magnificent Pitti Palace that she recalled from her native Florence.

Jardin du Luxembourg

The shady paths of the Luxembourg Gardens

Over the next few years Marie added 2,000 elm trees, formal gardens in the Tuscan style, and the Medici Fountain to her eight hectare estate. Later she expanded the garden to about thirty hectares and established one of the most famous gardens and parks in Europe. Surprisingly, subsequent monarchs neglected the gardens, with a large section sold off after the revolution for real estate development.

It was only when highly respected architect Jean Chalgrin, the designer of the Arc de Triomphe, decided to restore the gardens that they finally regained their former splendour. Since then the gardens have enjoyed the undiminished support and adoration of Parisians from all walks of life. Victor Hugo included the gardens prominently in his novel Les Miserables.

Jardin du Luxembourg

The main axis of the Luxembourg Gardens

Today, the Luxembourg Gardens are the second largest public park in Paris, covering a total of more than 22 hectares. The Luxembourg Palace itself, fully restored and an incredibly impressive example of royal architectural excess, is the house of the French Senate.

Located on the border of the sixth and fifth arrondissements, in easy walking reach of both the Latin Quarter and St Germaine, Teddy found a wide variety of demographics enjoying the park. The gardens are normally teeming on weekends, and are a popular lunchtime respite for locals – whether residents, office workers or students from any of the many prestigious nearby  institutions – especially during Spring and Autumn. There are often musical or other events occurring in the gardens too, and Medici Fountain seems to be popular with mothers and young children.

For those doing a walking tour on the left bank that might include the Pantheon, the Sorbonne and the Odeon, then Jardin du Luxembourg is possibly your best choice for a relaxing picnic lunch.



5 Responses to Jardin du Luxembourg

  1. […] beyond the west edge of the Latin Quarter is the Luxembourg Gardens, while the eastern end of the region is dominated by the Jardin des Plantes, creating green […]

  2. Beverly says:

    This is really something!

  3. Mellissa says:

    Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

  4. Joe Bellingshausen says:

    bookmarked!!, I love your site!

  5. Oscar says:

    Normally I do not read travel sites, but I would like to say that this write-up compelled me to check you out! Thanks, very nice article.

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