If you want a picnic, don’t bother with a blanket as you’re mainly not allowed to sit on the lawns. Be eagle-eyed and grab a bench as soon as one frees up!
Le Jardin du Luxembourg was the pet project of Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, who created it in 1612 to go with her latest residence, the Luxembourg Palace. The palace and the garden were designed to imitate the Palazzo Pitti in her native Florence, as she longed for home. Today, the garden is owned by the French senate, who also hold their meetings in the Palace.
The park was somewhat neglected by later monarchs, but it was rejuvenated during the 19th century when Napoleon dedicated it to the children of Paris. Nowadays, the 25 hectare gardens are split into two sections: the English gardens and the French gardens, which are, of course, very different. Between the two, there is a neatly geometric forest and a large pond. To one side you can also find an orchard nurturing all sorts of unloved apples, beyond the usual suspects of the Pink Lady and the Granny Smith.
There’s also an apiary where you can learn about bee-keeping and a greenhouse that holds a stunning assortment of orchids and a rose garden, sheltering them from the surly Parisian weather. Dotted across the gardens are no fewer than 106 statues, but the finest stonework comes in the form of the Medici fountain with its ornate fish pond.
There’s plenty to do besides simply wander around too: adults can play chess or tennis, and children can enjoy rides, slide and remote control boats. Moreover, the Musée de Luxembourg also holds prestigious temporary art exhibitions, such as the recent “Cézanne et Paris”.
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