Situated on the border between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, Le Jardin du Luxembourg, known in English as The Garden of Luxembourg (or the “Luco” as Parisians call it), sits. This garden, filled with so much history and famous for its calm environment, is one of the best in the world! The garden, which sits outside the Palace of Luxembourg, is full of famous statues, duck pond filled fountains and some of the most beautiful views of the city.
The lushly landscaped gardens, which cover approximately 62 acres of land, contain an odd balance of a formal French-style garden on one side, full of geometric organization and beauty, with a somewhat wild-looking English-styled garden on the other. From the time of the late nineteenth century the garden contained a marionette theater, a music kiosk, greenhouses, bee-house, an orangery (a building only used for growing oranges) which also today doubles as a place for showing sculptures and modern art, a rose garden, the fruit orchard, and there are some 106 sculptures, including 20 of former French queens, and others honouring musicians and writers such as Chopin, Beethoven, Stendhal and Baudelaire, as well as scientists, politicians, activists, and mythological characters. There is also a flock of parakeets that call the gardens home. You can see them all over the trees.
In the northwest corner of the park, between the tennis courts and the rose garden, is where the most committed chess enthusiasts in the Paris meet every day to play – sometimes rapid-fire games of five or even three minutes and others that drift on for hours into the evening. On dry, sunny afternoons, these contests can seem like prize fights at a Las Vegas casino, attracting huge crowds that whoop and groan in unison as their player lands a crucial blow or takes a beating. These make great backdrops for beautiful pictures, not unlike Washington Square Park in New York City.
Spread around the gardens there are four spectacular fountains, the most famous of which is the Fontaine Médicis in the northeast corner. The fountain depicts Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon, looking down on Galatea, his beloved sea-nymph, in the arms of Acis, her true love. As the story goes, enraged that Galatea did not return his love, Polyphemus killed Acis with a boulder and Galatea turned her lover’s blood into the River Acis in Sicily. In Autumn, you can find this beautiful fountain lined with colorful chrysanthemums, always a crowd-pleaser.
Locals and tourists come mostly during the spring and summer months, but the gardens can be beautiful at any time of year. And if you have kids, they’ll love the puppet theater with shows in the warmer months. There are also remote-control boat rentals around the pond area and a playground area with an old-fashioned carousel. Your little ones can take a pony ride or enjoy a treat at one of the concession stands.
Guided tours led by one of the park’s gardeners are generally available on the first Wednesday of the month from April to October. Tours meet in front of the Observatoire (observatory) gate at 9:30a.m.
- 30 minutes
- 60 minutes
- 100 minutes