The Luxembourg Garden: 5 Things To Know About This Must-see Parisian Park.
The Luxembourg Garden, affectionately nicknamed the Luco by Parisians, is the must-see place if you want to sunbathe or have a picnic in a park without leaving Paris intra-muros. Here are 5 things to know about this famous Parisian park.
1- It is one of the oldest gardens in Paris.
The Jardin du Luxembourg is located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris between two famous Parisian neighborhoods: Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter. You have probably already heard of it, but did you know that this green space covering approximately 25 hectares is one of the oldest gardens in Paris?
This garden was created in 1612 at the initiative of Queen Marie de Médicis, the widow of Henri IV and the mother of Louis XIII. It owes its name to the mansion that was located there at the time, the Hôtel du duc François de Luxembourg, which was bought by Marie de Médicis along with its 8 hectares of land.
The queen had a palace built there inspired by Florentine residences. Throughout its history, the Palais du Luxembourg went from being a princely residence to a prison during the Revolution, from Chamber of Peers from 1814, to prefecture of the Seine and finally to the seat of the Senate.
The palace, as well as the gardens surrounding it, underwent numerous modifications over time. It was the major works of Haussmann at the end of the Second Empire that gave this park its current layout.
2- It is the property of the Senate.
The Luxembourg Palace houses the French Senate. That's why the gardens surrounding it are now the property of the Senate.
You will find many useful information to prepare your visit on the official website senat.fr (see the link below).
You can even download the presentation brochure of the garden, with its opening hours, map and proposed activities.
3- It is one of the favorite leisure spots of Parisians.
The Luxembourg Gardens is one of the favorite green spaces for Parisians and tourists. It covers nearly 25 hectares, of which 21 ha are open to the public for free.
This outdoor leisure spot definitely lives up to its reputation as it offers a multitude of activities. Visitors can play tennis, bridge, and chess or simply sit on a chair to soak up the sun and enjoy this green lung in the heart of the capital!
The garden also offers cultural programming as photos are regularly exhibited on its exterior fences and its music kiosk offers eclectic concerts during the summer.
4- You can do a treasure hunt there with the children.
At the Jardin du Luxembourg, children are having a great time as it is possible to attend a puppet show, ride a pony or rent a remote-controlled boat to sail on the basin.
If you are looking for free activities, know that this haven of greenery houses a playground with swings and slides.
The Senate's website offers a 6-step treasure hunt game designed to make the garden visit more playful for children. This trail will take you from Porte Gay Lussac (Luxembourg RER station) to the Luxembourg Museum via the Medici Fountain, the Statue of Liberty as well as the Orangery, orchards and beehives!
Although it was designed for children, this itinerary is interesting if you want to visit the Jardin du Luxembourg for the first time. It will allow you to discover the many curiosities scattered throughout this park which has no less than 106 statues.
Note: Orchid lovers will enjoy the Heritage Days (the third weekend of September) to visit the orchid greenhouse in the garden and discover a collection of exceptional epiphytic plants.
5- Picnics are allowed there.
The last of the 5 things to know about the Luxembourg Garden is that it is possible to have a picnic there without leaving Paris intra-muros. No need to plan an expedition by RER to the Bois de Vincennes or Boulogne when pretty green spots await you there!
Make a detour to a bakery or caterer in the neighborhood before entering the garden gates. If you opt for the entrance on the side of Avenue de l'Observatoire, you will arrive directly on large sunny lawns.
But, to avoid the crowd, it is preferable to continue your exploration and settle in a more shaded corner near the Statue of Liberty (well, its replica of course!). Last little advice: avoid the lawn next to the beehives because bees could disturb your outdoor meal...