From Catherine de Medici to Modern Art: Tuileries Garden

Art Galore: Rodin, Maillol, and More

Queen Catherine de Medici commissioned the construction of the Palais des Tuileries in 1564 on the site of the former tile factory, thus the name “Tuileries Gardens.” In 1664, the grounds were redone in the French formal garden style by King Louis XIV’s famed gardener, André Le Nôtre.

The gardens between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde are a popular spot for Parisians and visitors alike for a stroll and a dose of culture, with works by Maillol, Rodin, and Giacometti all in close proximity to one another.

There are two ponds on the grounds where visitors may unwind. The Musée de l’Orangerie, a museum dedicated to the works of Claude Monet, may be found in the southwest corner of the Tuileries.

Free French-speaking excursions are available from March through December. The Fête des Tuileries takes place from June through August and is a great event for everyone who likes cotton candy and carnival attractions.

History of Tuileries Garden

Catherine de Médicis, the widow of King Henri II, drastically changed the appearance of the settlement of Tuileries from what it had been in the 13th century: a huge field of unclear lands home to just the tile workshops.

Tuileries Garden
Tuileries Garden

The palace of the Tuileries was commissioned by the Queen in 1564 and served as the official residence of several French kings and queens, including Henri IV, Louis XIV, and Napoléon Bonaparte. Concurrently with these alterations, an Italian garden was developed on the western side of the palace. An orangery and a magnanery (used for cultivating silk) were added to the design around the start of the 17th century.

Louis XIV and his minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert decided to entirely rebuild the Medicis’ garden in 1664, commissioning the renowned landscape architect of the day, André Le Nôtre. The architect accepted the commission and rebuilt the garden in the fashionable French style of the period.

Le Nôtre’s plans have survived, and his original walkways are still accessible to the public. Le Notre fashioned the palace’s massive central road, which terminates in a big circular pond to the east and an octagonal one to the west.

The landscape architect constructed the Feuillants terrace along what is now known as the “Rue de Rivoli,” and he also constructed a terrace along the Tuileries quays. Le Nôtre then adorned the garden with magnificent figures made of marble that are still there today. In 1719, two sculptures of the legendary Mercury atop his winged horse were added to the front porch.

During the French Revolution of 1789, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette sought sanctuary at the Tuileries Palace after being taken from the Palace of Versailles by rebels.

Two almost identical structures, one for jeu de paume(real tennis) and the other for an orangery, were erected during Napoléon III’s reign. The former site of actual tennis is now home to the modern art museum Jeu de Paume National Gallery, while the former orangery houses the Orangerie Museum of modern art.

History of Tuileries Garden
History of Tuileries Garden

Today, the park is much more vibrant thanks to the abundance of chairs that visitors may take for free and use to relax in the sun beside one of the ponds. Miniature sailing boats, controlled remotely, may be rented near the famous Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and used on the second pond.

In addition to Auguste Cain’s animal sculptures, the garden has the works of one of the 20th century’s most renowned artists, Aristide Maillol. Since 1998, modern sculptures by artists including Rodin, Henry Moore, Roy Lichtenstein, and many more have been shown there. It is impossible to imagine the garden without the regular rotation of temporary exhibits.

What to expect from a visit to Tuileries Garden

Paths wind all across the 28-hectare garden that spans from the Louvre to Place de la Concorde, making Jardin des Tuileries one of Paris’s largest parks. The environment is dotted with sculptures by renowned French artists; the Carrousel Garden, for example, features the work of Aristide Maillol (20 sculptures).

Face north toward Rue de Rivoli as you stand smack in the middle of the garden. Then turn your gaze to the Louvre’s right (pretend you can still make out the specter of the Tuileries palace that formerly blocked off the Louvre’s western end).

Then head west to see the Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Grande Arche de la Défense in the distance. If you turn around, you’ll see the Musee d’Orsay across the Seine and a little distance to the right. What tower do you think that is?

You may relax here. Relax in the famed green seats that dot the water features. Hungry? Relax at one of the outside cafés. In the summer months of July and August, temporary fairs are built up, and children may enjoy the playgrounds and Ferris wheel (when available).

What to expect from a visit to Tuileries Garden
What to expect from a visit to Tuileries Garden

Two museums may be found inside the gardens that back up to the Place de la Concorde. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and Impressionist art (including Monet’s monumental water lily paintings) are both on display at Musée de l’Orangerie.

Photography enthusiasts will like Jeu de Paume. Given its many draws, it’s easy to see why the Tuileries Garden is among Paris’s most frequented green spaces.

How to get to Tuileries Garden – Paris

The Louvre, Place Vendôme, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Musée d’Orsay are all within walking distance from the Jardin des Tuileries in the 1st arrondissement of Paris.

The Jardin des Tuileries is conveniently located near two metro stops: Tuileries (line 1) and Concorde (lines 1, 8, and 12).

The museum is conveniently located near a number of bus stops (lines 42, 45, 52, 72, 73, 84, 94, and the Concorde stop).

View of Tuileries Garden
View of Tuileries Garden


The historic park of Tuileries, between the Louvre Palace, ‘venue de Rivoli,’ Place de la Concorde, and the Seine, gets its name from the tile manufacturers that operated there in the Middle Ages. One of the largest and oldest French gardens in the capital city, this garden goes back to the 17th century and stands where the manufacturers formerly did.

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