The Luxembourg Gardens is a historic public park in the heart of Paris. Discover a polished green symmetrical space with fountains and a wide array of enjoyable activities for both children and adults.
Table of Contents
📕 What are the Luxembourg gardens?
The Luxembourg gardens are manicured, well-maintained gardens set up in aesthetically pleasing geometrical patterns.
You will be pleased to find a touch of Parisian charm here. In recent times, this green space has been cured the most beautiful garden in Paris and Europe.
The park and adjoining palace were created and commissioned in 1612 by Marie de Medici, the then widow of the royal Dauphin, king Henry IV, and mother and regent to the young king Louis XIII.
Marie de Medici was originally from Florence in Italy, and she must have missed her great renaissance hometown of arts because the Luxembourg gardens were inspired and modeled after the dreamy Boboli gardens at the Pitti palace in Florence.
The name giver to the gardens was an old hotel adjoining the palace from 1550 called the “petit Luxembourg” (small Luxembourg). The family lineage of the duke of piney, who owned the hotel, could be traced back to Luxembourg, a small landlocked country bordering northern France.
Today, the gardens are open to the public and many of the Parisians locals just go there to hang out, to sunbathe during break hours or to meet with friends for a relaxed picnic on the green clean lawns.
The Luxembourg gardens should absolutely be on your bucket list if you are in Paris for a day or more!
The lower parterre area with the great water basin is surrounded by large gravel pathways. Various benches and metal moveable chairs can be found and are freely to be used on the 60 acres of space.
Sports and other activities such as tennis and chess are part of this exceptional park environment. Dedicated sections for kids with unique offers, such as a puppet theater, can be found in the same vicinity.
An orchard, botanical gardens and an apiary bring people closer to the outdoors and the natural allure. Statues add to the whole picture of an Italian-French influenced designed garden.
The center of all attention goes, of course, to the handsome Luxembourg palace (palais du Luxembourg). The building was commissioned by Marie de Medici, the regent queen of france, and built by Salomon de Brosse.
A royal home and briefly a prison during the French Revolution, it withstood the destruction of war. The 17th century building was then repurposed and turned into the current meeting place of the French senate.
Visitors can take part in guided tours to see the lavish interiors and senate rooms on Mondays and Fridays, if the senate is not in session (they are frequently in session). We didn’t get to do this so far, so I can’t tell you if there is a fee.
I recommend joining a tour if they offer it on your arrival there because the baroque interiors and halls are well worth a visit for lovers of French art and history. Please share your experience with us in the comments.
⛲️ Fountains & Basin
One of the major attractions in the Luxembourg gardens are the water fountains and large basins
Located near the palace at the north-eastern end of the gardens is the Medici fountain, an elongated pond. Every season spend here is a blissfully serene moment.
Italian renaissance romanticism shines through perfectly symmetrical aesthetics and color science takes it to a whole new level.
The elegance of the surrounding will enchant your mind in new ways. Just take a seat on one of the chairs along the canal fountain and soak in the sun in this calm area of the Luxembourg gardens.
The Great Basin (Le grand bassin)
The great basin is located in the parterre, the lower gravel prepared walking square at the center of the Luxembourg gardens.
This large low water basin is facing the palace, creating unparalleled mirrored architectural effects in the water. Instagram perfect photos or stimulating artistic perspectives can run free here.
Children and families will have fun with the remote controlled boats in the great basin.
4 Corners of the world fountain (Fontaine des Quatre-Parties-du-Monde)
Tucked away at the southern extended end of the jardin du Luxembourg, which is also known as the Jardin des Grands Explorateurs (Garden of the great explorers) is the 4 corners of the world fountain.
Four female bronze figurines represent the four corners of the world in this fountain from the 19th century, which are a tribute to the Venetian explorer, Marco Polo.
This area quiet and our favorite picnic spot, especially on hot days because the running waters from the fountains cool the air.
🌹 Botanical Gardens and Statues
The botanical themed gardens are the pride and joy of the great le jardin du Luxembourg and the city of Paris. Varied statues accentuate the feeling and soul of the green space.
The oldest greenhouse and conservatory in the garden of Luxembourg is the Orangery. The senate adjoining building was a space for orange trees and other southern plants to over winter.
Today, this is still the case and various southern tree varieties such as figs and pomegranates, besides oranges still grown in this space. In fact, a 250-year-old orange variety has been thriving in the Orangery.
Located on the other side of the Luxembourg gardens, in the south-east, is a greenhouse known as Serres, dedicated to exceptional flowers.
This space can only be visited during the European Heritage days in September, but it’s well worth it if you are in Paris at that time. The Serres contains a large quantity of assorted orchids and other flower varieties.
You will also come across other plant themed areas, such as the rose-gardens near the Orangery or the spring flower beds.
Moreover, look out for the beekeeping hive in the north-west behind the Pavillon Davioud. An apiary-school was established here in 1856 and the modern art of beekeeping is still taught here.
The honey is sold here every fall season and people from all over the world can apply to join the beekeeping school.
The statues of the Luxembourg garden make this Parisian city backyard a feast for the eyes, and you might end up picking a favorite.
Most depict musicians, artists, important personalities and more. Others are there to remind us of certain historical events and others shall inspire our dreams.
One of the most sought after statues is a small modern replica of the Statue of Liberty, located at the western end of the gardens near the entrance.
Here are some more notable statues to look out for:
- Harde de Cerf
- Statue Paul Verlaine
- L’Effort (Pierre Roche, 1898)
- Monument à Delacroix
- L’Acteur grec
- Le marchand de masques
- The Scream, The Writing: Slavery Abolition Memorial
- Statue of Anne of Brittany
The jardin du Luxembourg is a place for everyone to unwind and to stay fit. This has been the clear mission of the park and the city of Paris.
You can join several activities in the garden. Many are sports and physicals and others focus on the mind.
- Basketball court – Located on the western side of the Luxembourg gardens near the Statue of Liberty.
- Tennis Courts – Several tennis courts located near the basketball court. You have to book a slot.
- Pétanque – A popular boules sport in France
- Play Chess or Bridge – Near the orangerie are fixed chess and Bridge tables where you can meet playmates from all walks of life. Just don’t forget to bring your chess or bridge pieces.
- Qi Gong Meditation Center – a place to meditate.
- Kick Boxing and Boxing Trainer – A training’s course is offered in the gardens.
- Music Bandstand (Le kiosque à musique) – Located near the eastern entrance, overlooking the great basin. A music ensemble plays music there occasionally and concerts are organized here in the warmer summer months.
👼 For Kids
Families and children will enjoy the time spent in the gardens of the Luxembourg palace. Considered a save and clean space, with plenty of activities to forge unforgettable childhood memories.
Remote Control Sailboats
You absolutely can’t miss the remote control boats in the grand fountains at the center of the Luxembourg gardens.
Here you can hire a sailboat with your kids and watch them float over the waters by controlling the direction of the boat movements. It’s a fun, and perhaps educational activity, for kids of all ages.
You even get to choose the flag of your country for your sailboat!
Look out for the “Les Voiliers du Luxembourg” to get a boat. They rent out boats from 1 pm to 6 pm on weekdays and on weekend from 11 am to 6 pm. The service is closed in winter. It’s about EUR 6 per boat for 30 minutes.
Ludo Jardin Playground
This large fenced playground has everything a kid could imagine. Here you will find slides, a blackboard, climbing frames, a zip line, tunnels and other games.
Located in a save well-kept space, this playground is payable. It’s EUR 3 per child and EUR 1 per adult and kids have to be watched over by their parents. You will also find a clean restroom (free) there.
The playground opens at 10 am, and they close about 1 hour before sunset.
Puppet Theater (Marionnette)
A puppet shows just like the once from yesteryear with typical French Guignol characters. A heartfull way to have children enjoy a simpler entertainment form. The shows are in French but still worth it because of the 1st class production quality.
Some of their most popular shows are classic enchanting fairy tale stories such as “Le petite chaperon rouge” (red riding hood) and “Les trois petits cochons” (The three little piglets).
Seats for kids and adults are about EUR 7.20 per person and the program and timetable is updated on their website.
The carousel is just outside the Puppet Theater, so you just can’t miss it. Every kid will want to pick a ride and take a round or two on one of these.
The price for a ride is just EUR 1.50 and just a pro-tip: If your kid pulls the string attached to the ceiling, you get a free ride.
You will also come across a pony riding service at the center of the garden area. They offer pony tours for kids in the summer months.
The prices and times are not always fixed, so I don’t have any more details. We just saw them by chance when we visited in August.
Four major restaurants can be found in the Luxembourg gardens among the green manicured lawns and fountains.
This includes La Table du Luxembourg and La Terrasse de Madame and Mademoiselle Angelina and Restaurant Du Sénat.
Most are upscale restaurants, especially Mademoiselle Angelina is well known.
La Terasse de Madame offers fries and burgers and is conveniently located near the main basin.
Adjoining the park are three notable museums worth looking out.
The Musée du Luxembourg is a dedicated space for 19th century art. Two temporary annual exhibitions are organized in this exceptional museum.
Each of the exhibitions is themed and introduces the work of a selected artist for a few months. The first one takes place in spring, up to mid-July, and the second expo is organized in fall, from September to January in winter. The museum is closed during the other months of the year.
The second notable museum is the Mineralogy Museum MINES in the small Hôtel de Vendôme, situated at the east of the park at along the Boulevard Saint-Michel road. The MINES is a treasure trove for mineral, fossil, and meteorite enthusiasts.
Art expos located in the Le pavillon Davioud, a former café restaurant, on the north-western corner of the gardens, invite visitors to explore a varied array of photography, sculptures and painted themes.
🧭 Getting There
The Luxembourg gardens are situated at the core of the 6th arrondissement in Paris between the Latin Quarter, also known as the Sorbonne district, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the historic Montparnasse district. t’s one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Paris.
The Notre Dame cathedral is about 18 minutes walking distance across the Latin quarter to the Luxembourg gardens.
The Panthéon is also just 8 minutes walking distance via the picturesque Rue Soufflot.
The Louvre is also in walking distance. Walk southwards across the Latin quarters for about 16 minutes to the gardens.
If you are coming from the Arc de Triomphe, take the metro line 6 direction Nation and switch metro trains at La Motte – Picquet Grenelle to metro line 10 direction Gare D’austerlitz. Get out at Mabillon and walk southwards to the gardens.
Another option (that’s what we did) is to take metro line 1 at the George V station near the Arc de Triomphe, direction Château de Vincennes. Get out at the Concorde station to switch to the metro line 12 direction Mairie D’issy. Exit after 5 stops at the Rennes station and walk to the gardens.
For those traveling from the Eiffel Tower to the Luxembourg gardens, get to the Bir-Hakeim metro station near the Eifel tower. Take the subway line 6 direction Nation and exit at Pasteur to take the next train, direction Mairie D’aubervilliers, line 12, and get out at Notre-Dame des Champs. The walk from the station to the gardens is just 5 minutes.
Do you need tickets for Luxembourg gardens?
No, the entry to the Luxembourg gardens is free.
What arrondissement are the Luxembourg gardens?
The Luxembourg gardens are in the 6th arrondissement in Paris.
What time do the gardens open to the public?
The gardens close their gates for the night. They reopen the palace gardens at various times in the year, usually that’s connected to sunrise and sunset. In winter, they unlock the gates after 8 am and close around 5 pm. The gardens are open much longer during the summer months, from 7:30 am to 8 pm during late sunset hours.
Can You Picnic In The Luxembourg Gardens?
Yes, you can also sit and picnic in the Luxembourg garden lawns or on a bench or chair.
Are there restrooms in the park area?
Yes, you can find two restrooms in the Luxembourg gardens. One is located in the north-west near the Musée du Luxembourg, and the other is right next to the Botanical gardens in the south-east. Access is free of charge.