The Jardin du Luxembourg was one of my favourite places to take a break from my studies and get some fresh air. The garden was nearby my home in the 15th arrondissement in Paris, and it was the ideal place to catch some warm sun while enjoying the pretty views. The garden is much quieter than the popular Tuileries Garden by the Louvre, and much smaller, but it was pretty little haven to escape and unwind.
History of the Gardens
The Luxembourg Gardens was originally a private residence with a small palace and was commissioned by the regent Queen, Marie de Medici in 1611. She wanted a residence to retire in in Paris and had the small palace built in the same style of her Pitti Palace in Florence, where she was raised. She employed famous gardeners and landscape artists to create a beautiful garden to surround her new home, which included the famous Medici Fountain. The original property was just 8 hectares. In 1630 she bought another 30 hectares and extended the garden into a park with trees and various flowers beds along the paths.
Over the years the gardens have been kept in good shape. The same landscape artist who designed the Tuileries also designed the garden we see surrounding the palace today. It was later restored by Jean Chalgrin who designed the Arc de Triomphe. The palace now serves as a a meeting place for the French senate who regularly meets there.
The garden today
The garden is filled with Parisians either picnicking or relaxing on the lawns. Many also relax in the chairs along the large water basin the middle.
In summer and in the warmer weather, you can put little sail boats in the large water basin and let it float across. The large octagonal basin is part of the garden’s original plan, and was designed by Jacques Boyceau. Boyceau helped define the concept of the French style formal garden.
The winding paths all have something special to show around the corner. There are many classicaly styled statues displayed in beautiful flower beds.
To the right of the Luxembourg palace there are facilities for children to enjoy and a playground.There is also an arts and craft gallery which sometimes hosts various exhibitions.
The 6th arrondissement is an interesting area. It has some of the oldest buildings and architecture that dates back to the time before Paris existed as a French city. The famous Pantheon lies right across from the Luxembourg Gardens and is worth checking out. It’s definitely a stop to see on your trip to Paris!