This inner city retreat of verdant yards, chestnut groves, and proper patios has a unique place in Parisians’ hearts. Napoleon devoted the twenty-three gracefully set-out hectares from the Luxembourg Gardens towards the kids of Paris, and several residents spent their youth prodding 20’s solid wood sailboats with long stays on the octagonal Grand Bassin pond, seeing puppets perform Punch & Judy-kind shows at the Theatre du Luxembourg and using the carousel or ponies. Those tasks continue to be here today, as are modern resort areas and sporting and games sites. Tons of apple varieties grow in the orchards in the gardens’ south, while bees have created honey within the encircling Rucher du Luxembourg ever since the nineteenth century don’t miss the two-day Fete du Miel in late September.
The gardens are a background to the Palais Luxembourg, constructed in the 1620s for Marie de Medici, the consort of Henri IV, to assuage her yearning for Pitti Palace at Florence, where she’d spent her youth. Since 1958 the Senat, the Upper House of French Parliament, that’s sometimes visitable by guided tour has been placed by the palace. East of the palace is the Italianate, 1630-built Fontaine des Medici, an elaborate fish pond. Esteemed temporary art exhibitions, including ‘Cezanne et Paris’, be held in the Musee du Luxembourg. Round the rear of the museum, orange and lemon trees, palms, grenadiers, and oleanders shelter from the cold in the orangery of the palace.
Nearby the Hotel du Petit Luxembourg that is heavily protected was the small 16th century digs while Palais Luxembourg had been constructed, where Marie de Medici resided. It has been called by the president of the Senate home since 1825. Forget bringing a blanket, if you’re planning on picnicking – the elegantly manicured yards are apart from a little wedge on the southern border off limits. Instead, do as Parisians do, and corral one amongst the iconic 1923-created sage green metal seats and locate your very own favorite part of the park.
Jardin du Luxembourg is the first French Garden which was influenced by Italian style. The garden and palace were built in 1612. For a long time now, Luxembourg has been seen as a classical Parisian area which remains popular. The place was designed for another Medici princess known as Marie de Medici (1573-1642) who was crowned as the Queen of France. Similar to the Boboli garden where Marie grew up, Luxembourg also has two axes at right angles. It was Jacques Boyceau who came up with the plan. In the 17th century, the place is great to savor the wonderful environment of a rich palace garden.
It evolved over the years but the character of the garden is still the same. During a time of abandonment, some of the romantic garden scenes of Watteau were painted here. The Medici Fountain was transferred from its original place which did not do justice to its name. There are public park facilities like tennis courts, children’s playgrounds, more than a hundred sculptures including Stendhal, Chopin, Delacroix and Blanch of Castile. The fringes found on Luxembourg have been informally laid in an ‘Anglo-Chinois’ manner. Now, the Luxembourg Palace is used by the French Senate.
HISTORY OF THE LUXEMBOURG GARDENS
In 1611, the widow of Henry IV named Marie de Medicis, who is also the regent for King Louis XIII decided to create a palace similar to the Pitti Palace from Florence, her native place. She bought the former hotel du Luxembourg and known today as Petit-Luxembourg palace. Then construction for the palace started. She asked Salomon de Brosse to create the palace and fountain which exists up to now. Back in 1612, she planted 2,000 elm trees and talked to a number of gardeners including the popular Tommasco Francini to make a park with the same style she saw when she was young and staying in Florence. Francini’s plan was to have two terraces with balustrades and parterres lying along the axis of the chateau, lined with a circular basin. He was also the one who made the Medici Fountain found at the east of the palace as a nymphaeum which is a fountain and an artificial grotto. Originally, the garden was about eight hectares.
In 1630, she bought another land and expanded the garden to thirty hectares. She entrusted the work to Jacques Boyceau de la Barauderie who was the intendant of the Tuileries garden and early garden of Versailles. He was amongst the early theorists of the new garden à la française. In addition, he laid a couple of squares by the east-west alley closing at the east end of the Medici Fountain, plus a rectangle of parterres with flowers and hedges at the front area of the palace. Moreover, he placed an octagonal basin with a fountain at the center which is now known as the Paris Observatory.
After some time, monarchs neglected the garden. By the year 1780, the eastern part of the garden was sold for real estate development by Comte de Provence who is the future Louis XVIII. But, after the French Revolution, French Directory leaders made the garden bigger up to forty hectares by taking the land of Carthusian monks who are nearby. Jean Chalgrin, the architect of the Arc de Triomphe accepted the task for the garden restoration. He renovated the Medici Fountain and also laid out plans from the palace to the observatory. Moreover, he preserved the popular pepiniere or what is known as a nursery garden of the Carthusian order, old vineyards and maintained the garden with a formal French design.
In 1848, after the July Monarchy, the park became a home for a huge number of statues. First, there were statues of Queens and popular women of France along its terraces. Then in the 1880s and 1890s, there were already monuments of artists and writers, a small model of the Statue of Liberty by Bartholdi and a modern sculpture done by Zadkine.
By 1865, when Paris was undergoing reconstruction by Louis Napoleon, the rue de l’Abbé de l’Epée, became a bigger area, adding 15 hectares and extending to the park. Also, because of the construction of new boulevards, the Medici Fountain was also moved and rebuilt to its location today.
During this reconstruction, Gabriel Davioud who is the director of Paris parks and promenades created new ornamental gates and fences around the park plus garden houses made of polychrome brick. A transformation of the old Chartreux nursery garden was also done by the south end of the park. It became an English garden with winding paths with a fruit garden on its southwest side. He maintained the regular geometric patterns of the alleys and paths but built a diagonal alley near the Medici fountain which opened a view of the Pantheon.
In the late 19th century, the garden had a marionette theater, a music kiosk, greenhouses, a bee-house, a rose garden, fruit orchard, and an orangery which is used to display modern art and sculpture, as well as seventy works of sculpture.
Visitor Information for Jardin Du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg Hours of Operation:
According to daylight
opening hour: 7.30 am in summer – 8.15 am in winter.
closing hour: 9.30 pm in summer – 4.30 pm in winter.
Admission Fee for the Jardin du Luxembourg:
Getting to the Jardin du Luxembourg:
Line 4 : station Odéon, Saint Sulpice.
Line 12 : Rennes.
By RER B;
# 21, 27, 38, 58, 82, 84, 89