The Luxembourg Gardens, modeled after the Boboli Gardens in Florence, were built at Queen Marie de Medici’s initiative in 1612 and are located on the border of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter.
There are French gardens and English gardens throughout the 23 hectares of gardens. A huge pond and a geometric forest are located between the two. Additionally, there are greenhouses with a collection of magnificent orchids and a rose garden, an orchard with a variety of ancient apples, an apiary where you can learn about beekeeping and more.
One hundred six statues may be seen around the garden, along with the imposing Medici fountain, the Orangerie, and the Pavillon Davioud. Puppets, exciting rides, and slides are just a few of the kid-friendly amenities and activities available.
Adults can play chess, tennis, bridge, or remote control boats in Luxembourg Gardens, whether they are residents of Paris or visitors. Free photography shows on the garden railings and concerts on the bandstand are some of the things that make up the culture program.
History of Luxembourg Gardens
While the garden is bustling with activity now, that wasn’t always the case. L’hôtel du Luxembourg, a private residence wonderfully created by French architect Salomon de Brosse, served as inspiration for the hotel’s moniker. The castle and grounds were originally owned by the cousins of the medieval Duke of Luxembourg, but in 1611 they were purchased by Marie de Médici, the French queen.
Queen Marie de Medici, the wife of King Henri (Henry) IV, was a native Florentine who commissioned the building of these gardens.
Marie de Medici had the gardens enlarged and redesigned in an Italian baroque style by the same landscape architect who had worked on the Tuileries. The aesthetic was developed around the idea of imposing order on nature and maintaining a pristine environment throughout the year. The garden’s Renaissance layout ensures that it will always appear elegant, regardless of the time of year.
Over the years, the garden’s area was reduced and then increased, creating its peculiar outline. The garden has undergone many changes and upgrades throughout the years, but its Italian roots have always been preserved.
Designed after the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy (a tribute to her Italian ancestry), Marie de Medici’s Palais du Luxembourg is a landmark that resembles a bucolic chateau in the center of a bustling city.
Since its time as Marie de Medici’s royal mansion, it has served as a museum, a home for the French aristocracy, and a jail for those sentenced to death by guillotine during the French Revolution.
It was during Napoleon’s rule that the Luxembourg Palace became the permanent home of the Senate of France.
Architectural design of Luxembourg Gardens
Whether you’re taking a casual stroll or actively hunting for sculptures in the Luxembourg Garden, you’ll be able to appreciate the garden’s architectural variety. The Senate of France is responsible for the upkeep and improvement of the architectural features in Luxembourg Gardens.
More than a hundred statues of classical figures, like cherubs, nymphs, and satyrs, can be seen throughout the Luxembourg Garden. These figures hail from Roman and Greek mythology and include Venus, the Goddess Diana with a deer, and Vulcan, the God of Fire. A marble statue of Marie de Medici from 1840 is included on the list among statues of other French nobility, saints, and artists.
The original Statue of Liberty was actually a gift from France and was sculpted by a Frenchman; a smaller replica of the statue now resides in the Luxembourg Garden.
Because of its shady and dark ambiance, which gives it a very brooding and sinister air, the Marie de Medici Fountain (designed by Tommaso Francini) is probably the most visited feature of the garden. Some of the most notable ornamental features of the garden can be found in the artificial grotto, which was constructed in the 17th century.
The ‘Grotte du Luxembourg,’ often known as a copy of the Fountain of Buontalenti, underwent several changes throughout the years before finally becoming the beauty it is today. It was even relocated during the Haussmann redevelopment of the city, stone by stone. The Medici Fountain gained its status as a national historic landmark in 1889.
There is another garden right next to the Luxembourg Garden, and it’s named the Garden of the Great Explorers. There are two smaller gardens there, both named after explorers: Marco Polo and Robert Cavelier de la Salle.
Several different French sculptors worked together to create the huge Fontaine de l’Observatoire, which is arguably the most impressive feature of the Garden of Explorers. Four women, one each for Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa, hold a heavenly globe to symbolize the four continents.
During the Meridian line construction of the Avenue de l’Observatoire, Baron Haussmann commissioned the fountain as part of his layout of Paris. Paris and its observatory are located on the zero meridian, the line that lies perpendicular to the equator.
The zero meridian is marked with metal medallions in the Luxembourg Garden. The zero Greenwich Meridian has officially replaced the former Paris Meridian.
Location and accessibility of Luxembourg Gardens
The Jardin Luxembourg serves as a crossroads for two bustling areas. People like it not only because it’s pretty, but also because there are so many things to do there. It’s difficult to pick a favorite Paris park, but the contrasts between the grand Medici fountain and the stately Senate palace and the charming miniature sailboats and puppet acts at Luxembourg Garden help it stand out.
The 23-hectare Luxembourg Garden in the 6th Arrondissement is a popular destination because of its tree-lined walkways, flower beds, lawns, stunning fountains and statues, tennis courts, and model ships. You can’t go to Paris and not see this.
The Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, two of the city’s most visited areas, are both easily accessible on foot. The Luxembourg station on the RER B and the Odéon station on the metro line 4 both provide service to the area.
In the middle of Paris, over 25 hectares, sit the Luxembourg Gardens, or Jardin du Luxembourg. They are Paris’ most charming gardens, covered in statues, fountains, and flowers. Ponies, a merry-go-round, and puppet shows are among the numerous kid-friendly attractions there.