Parisians love the Luxembourg Gardens, the romantic gardens of lovers, students, children, tennis and chess players. Flowers, statues, fountains, outdoor cafes, the Luxembourg Museum make up a Paris must do. Famous Paris gardens.
The Luxembourg Gardens are a 25 hectares oasis in the heart of Paris. Spread with statues, fountains and flowers, they are the most romantic gardens in Paris. They have many attractions for children: ponys, merry-go-round, puppet shows (web site). Parisians love them and they are crowded on sunny days. Luxembourg Gardens are called Jardin du Luxembourg in French.
The left bank district around the gardens is quiet and lovely (left bank Paris map). Discover the area on a left bank Paris walking tour. Staying in one of the many boutique left bank hotels near Luxembourg Gardens is a great idea for a stay.
Queen Marie de Medicis bought the land, commissionned the Luxembourg Gardens and Palace in 1612. The 1789 revolution extended the gardens southwards with the land of the Chartreux convent (picture). In 1804, Napoleon turned the Palace into the French Senate, the upper house of parliament. The Gardens were opened to the public and have remained so ever since.
Map and history of Luxembourg Gardens 106 statues
After the death of King Henri IV in 1610, his widow, Queen Marie de Medicis became regent to her son, Louis XIII. She created the Luxembourg Gardens in 1612 and asked architect Salomon de Brosse to built a palace that would remind the Pitti Palace in her native Florence.
Marie de Medicis commissionned for the palace a series of twenty-four monumental paintings executed by Flemish painter Paul Rubens between 1622 and 1625 and depicting Marie's struggles and triumphs in life. These paintings are now visible in the Galerie Medicis of the Louvre, one of the treasures of the museum's Flemish paintings department.
The education of the Princess shows a maturing Marie de Medicis at study. Her education is given a divine grace by the presence of three Greek gods Apollo, associated with art, Athena, with wisdom and Hermes being the messenger.
Since 1799, the Luxembourg Palace houses the Senate, one of the two chambers of the French Paliament with the National Assembly. Members of the two Houses are chosen by two different electoral systems. Examination of bills by both Houses of Parliament makes for better laws. The 348 senators are assisted by specialised civil servants and parliamentary aides. In all, 2000 people work for the Senate. The Speaker of the Senate ensures the stability of France’s institutions as he is called upon to replace the President of the Republic in the event of his death or resignation. The Luxembourg Palace cannot be visited.
During the German occupation of Paris from 1940 to 1944, Hermann Goring took over the Senate as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe. It was a key point for German forces defending the city in August 1944. Thanks to the decision of Commanding General von Choltitz to surrender the city rather than fight, it was only minimally damaged.
The Musee du Luxembourg is located 19, rue de Vaugirard at the edge of Luxembourg Gardens. Established in 1750, it was initially located in the east wing of the Luxembourg Palace. It was the first public gallery in the city, displaying the King's collection including Titian, Da Vinci and other paintings now forming the nucleus of the Louvre collections. In 1818, it became a museum of contemporary art. In 1884 the museum moved into its current building, the former orangery of the Palace. The museum began to be used for temporary exhibitions in 2000.
The museum now hosts two exhibitions a year. Choice themes are the Renaissance in Europe, the relationship between art and power, as well as the role of Paris in arts. The spaces have been completely redesigned by architect Shigeru Ban to accommodate the Angelina restaurant and tea room as well as educational workshops.