Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jardin du Luxembourg

Luxembourg Gardens is the most popular park in Paris, sixty acres of refuge from the noise and bustle of city life in the 6th arrondissement. Here people come to play tennis, boules (lawn bowling) and chess, walk their dogs, sail toy boats in the great octagonal pool and pursue amorous pastimes. There are hundreds of benches and chairs amongst the statuary, flower beds and fountains that spread southward from the palace that now serves the French Senate. In the northwest quadrant there’s a puppet theatre and a bandstand, and the café is a delight. There is an extension to the south that leads to fruit orchards and the adjacent Observatory, built in 1667.
Marie de Médicis, the wife of King Henri IV, ordered the Palais du Luxembourg built on this site in 1612, shortly after she was widowed. A Florentine by birth, she wanted to create another Pitti Palace. Alas, the queen didn't get to enjoy the palace, as her son, Louis XIII, forced her into exile when he discovered she was plotting to overthrow him.
Summer hours 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Entry from Pl. Edmond Rostand at Blvd. St-Michel, three blocks west of the Panthéon.

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