The Luxembourg Gardens hail from the left banks of Paris in the 6th arrondissement, stretching across 60 acres (23 hectors). Inspired by the present time Queen Marie Medici’s childhood home in Florence, Palazzo Pitti, these public gardens were designed by Jacques Boyceau, one of the theorists behind the art of the Jardin à la Française, the popularized approach using symmetry and imposing order over nature…how French!
Bordering the gardens is the Luxembourg Palace, which houses the French Senate.The Palace was originally owned by the Duke of Luxembourg, and was purchased by the widowed Queen Marie Medici in 1611, mother of Louis XIII, after the assassination of husband Henry IV. The Palace served as a prison in 1794 during the French Revolution. During the Second World War, the German air force branch, Luftwaffe, made the palace it’s headquarters.
In the center of the park, is the octagonal shaped Grande Bassin, where you may see children sailing small boats. Off to on side of the basin is the famous Medici Fountain, which is considered by many as the most romantic fountain in Paris. One of the first fountains in the baroques style, it’s a lovely representation of the ideals of the Renaissance, harmony and order. Although moved from it’s original location, the fountain graces the park with a bronze depiction of Polyphemus and white marble Acis and Galatea, two sculptures representing the popular Greek mythology of the times. Don’t miss the Fountain of Léda, tucked behind the Medici Fountain. It’s dated back to the Reign of Nepoleon Bonaparte and was relocated here during the Second Empire.
Among other features is the Paris Observatory which was built in 1671 by Louis XIV. The Fontaine des Quatre-Parties-du-Monde is situated in front, a sculpture of 4 nude women holding a globe representing the four continents of classical iconography.
The Rucher Ecole is a beekeeping school on the grounds, created in 1856, who’s bee’s population are partly responsible for the flourishing flowers throughout the park.
Sculptures of everyone from Beethoven to French Royalty and even the original model of the Statue of Liberty are abundant (about 100) and provide a perfect occasion for a history lesson. The movable seating and giant playground make this a perfect family outing, with even the option of pony rides and open air snack stands. The English style gardens, tennis courts and marionette theatre give this classical space an approachable, community spirit.
Dog owners can also bring their furry friends to an allocated area to join in on the fun. (See photo below: dog friendly zone shown in yellow)
Schedules for concerts, garden tours, exhibitions, etc. can be found here.
Open hours: 7:30 – 9, 9:30pm (according to season);every day
Location: Entrances at Rue de Medicis, Blvd St. Michel, Rue Guyenemer and Rue Vaugirard
Metro: Odeon (4, 10); RER-Luxembourg