Jardin du Luxembourg – A Beautiful Park in Paris
One of the most beautiful parks in Paris is Jardin du Luxembourg. Of all the jardins in Paris this is one that I return to again and again.
It’s where Parisians come to stroll and sit awhile – read, have a picnic or catch up with a friend. Runners, tennis, chess and children come to play. It’s where every day in Paris just happens. So beautifully.
So let me share my love of le Jardin du Luxembourg with you. Every reason why this jardin in Paris needs to be added to your itinerary. And, of course, everything you need to know about visiting here.
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Is Le Jardin du Luxembourg Worth Visiting?
Oh yes! Well, that is if you love pretty gardens and bearing witness to the quintessential Parisian life.
This isn’t just any garden in Paris that you can visit at all hours of the day. No, it’s that special. The garden is open from sunrise to sunset all year round. That means throughout the seasons the time changes with some weeks by even 15 minutes. How lovely is that?
As the second largest park in Paris, this is a local’s favourite. Nearby residents of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement and the Latin Quarter in the 5th arrondissement.
Brief History of Le Jardin du Luxembourg Paris
In 1611 Marie de Medici, the widow of King Henry IV and mother of Louis XIII, purchased this land. She decided to create a palace similar to the Pitti Palace and Boboli gardens from Florence where she spent her youth.
It then became a public park in 1642.
Once built, the palace housed royalty right up until the French Revolution. In 1791, when it was declared a National Palace and became the hub of government.
9 Wonderful Things to See at Le Jardin du Luxembourg
1. Palais du Luxembourg
The palace, built in 1615-1645, features the Italianate style of architecture. Walk the entire perimeter of this impressive building to admire all of its stunning details.
Today it’s home to the French Senate, and you may hear the building referred to as ‘le Sénat’. Touring the interior is not as easy. Visiting hours are limited to days when the Senate is not in session which is mostly Mondays to Fridays. Group tours are available but must receive advanced approval to visit.
2. The Gardens
What makes Luxembourg gardens Paris so unique is that the gardens combine elements of Italian, French, and English landscape design. It consists of large rectangles of lawn with wide gravel pathways perfect for strolling.
The gardens change with the seasons, making this a park you can return to again and again. Tulips are replaced with germaniums which are later replaced with chrysanthemums.
An ancient orchard of 1,000 trees featuring 320 different varieties of apples and 210 varieties of pears can be found in the southern part of the park.
There is an Orangery, or L’Orangerie du Jardin du Luxembourg, built in 1830 to protect 300-year-old lemon and orange trees and palms, as well as grenadiers and oleanders from colder weather.
3. The Grand Basin
The large circular pond, called the Grand Bassin, is in the middle of the park and where you’ll find the small little sailboats where children (and adults) use long sticks to navigate their miniature sails. Rent a toy boat from the nearby kiosk and experience this quintessential Paris tradition.
In all of my 8 visits to this park, I am yet to see this tradition. Perhaps it’s timing.
4. Fountaine de Medicis
Tucked away on the east side of the palace is where you’ll find the famous Médicis Fountain from 1620. This oblong pool is flanked by tall plane trees creating a lovely canopy over the fountain.
It is stunningly beautiful and tranquil. Hidden behind the Medici fountain is a 19th-century wall fountain called Fountaine de Léda. Most people miss this detail. Of all the Jardin du Luxembourg photos, this is one you’ll want to capture.
5. The Statues
Spread throughout the nearly 60 acres of Jardin du Luxembourg are 106 statues. The statues feature the past Queens and famous women of France. There are also statues of famous French writers and artists, as well as the classics from Roman and Greek history. There is even a statue of Marie de Medici herself.
A popular statue to seek out is, Liberty Enlightening the World, or commonly known as the Statue of Liberty.
6. Musee du Luxembourg
Built in 1630, the Musée de Luxembourg is known as the first French museum to open to the public in 1750.
In 1818, it transferred its priceless masterpieces to the Louvre and became a museum of contemporary art. Today, it only offers special exhibits at least twice a year.
What really draws the long lines is visiting the popular Angelina tea room. Treat yourself to the decadent desserts or hot chocolate they are so famous for. Trust me, it’s worth the wait!
7. The Iconic Green Chairs
My absolute favourite thing is seeing those battered green metal garden chairs. The famous French Fermob chairs designed in 1923 are generously scattered all over the park.
I love how some are upright and lined up perfectly while others may be tipped over or at an odd angle. They give the park a casual yet quintessential Paris chic look. And, they are the perfect chair to indulge in a little people-watching.
8. Bee hives
Near the apple and pear orchards, you will find beehives. Bees in this park have produced honey since 1856.
If you are lucky to be in Paris in late September you may be able to attend the two-day Fête du Miel (or honey festival). How wonderful would it be to buy a jar of honey, flavoured with the signature flowers of this beautiful park to take home with you?
9. People at Play
A popular thing to do for kids is to go to Ludo Jardin, the garden’s playground. This includes activities perfect for toddlers all the way to pre-teens. For only 3 euros, your child will enjoy playing here for hours. Another fun activity is the Marionettes du Luxembourg Théâtre. Watch a 40-minute performance on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Chess enthusiasts meet in the northwest corner of the park to play. Watch rapid-fire games of mere minutes or longer strategic games that can go on for hours. Either way, players always draw a crowd where you’ll hear cheers or groans in unison.
Then there are the men on the boules courts, with the heavy silver balls trying to, well I’m not exactly sure how this popular European game is played. But it does create some oohs and ahs by the players.
Why is Luxembourg Garden famous?
The Luxembourg Garden is famous for being a beautiful and relaxing park with a long history and is home to the French Senate.
Where is Luxembourg Garden?
Luxembourg Garden is in the 6th arrondissement. The closest metro is either Odeon or Saint Sulpice.
What are the entrances to Luxembourg Garden?
The entrances to Luxembourg Garden are place Edmond-Rostand, rue de Vougirard and place Auguste-Comte.
How much time do you need for Luxembourg Garden?
The Luxembourg Garden can be enjoyed within an hour allowing enough time to stroll the pathways, and admire the flowers, statues and Médicis Fountain.
What is the best time to visit Luxembourg Garden?
The best time to visit Luxembourg Garden is in late spring, summer and early fall when the flowers are trees are in full bloom.
Is Luxembourg Garden free?
Yes, Luxembourg Garden is free to enter and enjoy the park. The only cost is the children’s playground, Ludo Jardin, for €3.
Paris Travel Resources
To help with your Paris trip inspiration and planning, check out some of my other articles of things to do.
- Must-see Streets
- Prettiest Parks and Hidden Gardens
- Secret Covered Passages
- Guide to Saint Germain in the 6th arrondissement
- Visit Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement
- Guide to Ile Saint-Louis in the 4th arrondissement
- What to do in Le Marais
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As a holidaymaker
One of my favourite things about Paris is the city’s parks. Le Jardin du Luxembourg especially. It’s an indescribable feeling you get as you stroll through them. I admire the slow-down culture Parisians have. It has a seat, relax, take in the view kind of attitude. They appreciate the smallest moments throughout the day – a coffee, a good meal, a chat with a friend. Never rushed, always enjoyed.
Next time you are in Paris go to the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg and enjoy.