My Perfect Paris Park: Jardin du Luxembourg
Updated: Oct 14, 2018
So many parks in Paris are a joy to visit: The massive Jardin des Tuileries leading to the Louvre. Sprawling Bois de Boulogne with picnicking families, rowboats and, sometimes mamas sunbathing topless on hot summer days. The landscaped lawns of the Champs de Mars looking up at the Eiffel Tower. Even the park-like cemetery of Père Lachaise.
My heart, however, belongs to the Jardin du Luxembourg. It’s both a serene place to enjoy solitude as well as a social gathering spot with activity and entertainment. And, it’s central enough to visit easily every time I’m in Paris since it’s on the left bank’s 6th arrondissement near Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
For quiet, there’s the small rectangular pond headed by the Medici fountain (the park was begun in 1612 by Marie de' Medici, widow of King Henry IV for what was her new Luxembourg Palace.) That peaceful spot is shaded by trees with chairs helpfully placed around it attract people pondering life, reading or just plain easing their sore feet. The park is large enough to wander off the beaten path for a stroll without crowds, enjoying the 106 statues (supposedly, I’ve never counted) spread throughout the grounds which encompass hectares of French and English gardens, woods, greenhouses and rose garden.
No one goes to the Jardin without being attracted to the main pond where children launch model sailboats and adults are entranced, wishing they could play, too. Parisian families spread throughout the park’s playgrounds, carousel, marionnettes (puppet) shows, and tennis courts.
A small amphitheater presents entertainment, impromptu or formal. The last time I was there it consisted of a school chorus. Meanwhile, quieter nooks and crannies are filled with people reading, chatting, playing chess or having a picnic lunch. A snack bar and rest facilities let you settle in for as long as you like. What’s not to love?