Known in French as Le Jardin du Luxembourg, this stunning garden covers 57 acres in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Its construction began in 1612 by a decree from Marie de Medici, widow of King Henry IV. Marie wanted to create a space reminiscent of the Pitti Palace and gardens in her native Florence, Italy. She commissioned the 17th-century French architect Solomon de Brosse to build a palace and a fountain on the site when she became tired of living in the Louvre. During the French Revolution the Palace served as a prison and during World War II, a German army barracks. Today it is home to the French Senate. The name comes from the Latin Mons Lucotitius, the name of the small hill on which it's located.
The Garden continued to be expanded and improved through the middle to the end of the 19th century. Today it contains a theater, tennis courts, playgrounds, many beautiful, treelined paths and the Grand Bassin where children (and adults) sail model boats.
The Garden is full of beautiful statuary, in fact it is home to more than a hundred statues, fountains and monuments.
My favorite feature is the Marie de Medici fountain. Marie commissioned it to be designed by an Italian Renaissance fountain maker in 1620 to replicate a grotto which was a popular feature of Renaissance gardens. I think I could sit at its edge all day. It's located just to the east of the Palais du Luxembourg (the Senate) at the northeastern corner of the Garden.
The bronze fountain just south of the Garden, known as La Fontaine de l'Observatoire, is also extraordinary. The four women holding up the globe were meant to represent the four parts of the world; Europe, Asia, Africa and America.
There's something for everyone here.
I love the early morning when it's almost empty.
If you stand at just the right place, you can peek at the Eiffel Tower.
The northwestern portion of the Garden includes the Musée de Luxembourg and the Petit Luxembourg, a "hôtel particulier", home to the President of the Senate, pictured below.
Fall is my favorite season in Paris and the Luxembourg Garden is still rich with color.
Throughout its long history, the Garden has been neglected from time to time, but it's a jewel now and shouldn't be missed.
➜ Top Tips
The Garden is free of charge.
The closest métro stations are Odéon (line 4) and Notre Dame des Champs or Rennes (line 12). The RER Luxembourg train station is also just a few minutes' walk.
It's a great place to jog in the morning or evening (when you tire of jogging along the Seine)!
it's generally open from early morning to late afternoon or evening depending on the season. Check the website if you plan to go early or stay later.
It's a large space, so set aside plenty of time to stroll.
Spend time discovering the area just outside the Garden; the 5th and 6th arrondissements are rich with history.
The Garden is beautiful in every season; take a good camera!