Jardin du Luxembourg: A Largest Public Park in Paris
One of the things besides the obvious which is their beauty that I love about the parks in Paris, France is that their names in French make them sound almost magical. Here we have Jardin de Luxembourg which is located near the Sorbonne University and is thought to be the most popular park in Paris. Now if we just called it Luxembourg Park there would be something lost in the translation. This is the second largest public park in Paris.
Jardin de Luxembourg was once owned by the Duke of Luxembourg. It was later sold to Marie de’ Medici who was the mother of Louis XIII and she had the gardens created in Italian style. It was in the 19th century when this park was opened to the public. The park is beautifully designed and there’s an octagonal pond called the Grand Bassin right at the center. It is a special place for children as they can get small rentable boats which they can float upon the pond.
Other attractions for Jardin du Luxembourg’s smaller visitors include pony rides, a merry-go-round, and a puppet theater. All about the pond one can see fine lawns and alleys which are all laid out in a geometrical pattern.
The park has many different statues such as the statue of Saint-Genevieve who was the patroness of Paris. There are chairs available for visitors to the park which they can place where they like to sit and relax. Jardin du Luxembourg is also popular with Jeux de Boules and chess players.
In the southwest corner of Jardin du Luxembourg are an apple and pear orchard and the puppet theater for children. These gardens also include a fenced-in playground and a vintage carousel. Nearby there is a small cafe which has indoor and outdoor seating and visitors can enjoy the music offered by free musical performances at a gazebo on the grounds while enjoying a glass of wine.
There are two notable fountains – the most popular one is the Fontaine Medicis which is a romantic Baroque fountain. It is found on the northeast side of the park by a small pond. The fountain has a sculpture of Polyphemus who was the Greek mythological figure who watched over the lovers Acis and Galatea. This sculpture is surrounded by allegorical figures associated with the Rhone and Seine Rivers.
The other fountain is at the southern end of Jardin du Luxembourg and has a statue of a globe which is supported by four women who each represent a continent. At the northern end, you’ll find the Palais du Luxembourg. The palace was used as a prison during the French Revolution and presently is home to the French Senate.
Altogether Jardin du Luxembourg is a surprising delight to visitors as it has more than a hundred statues, monuments, and fountains scattered all about. The central green space alone has around twenty statues of historical French queens and female saints. So you could say that you can come to the park for some culture and history as well.