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Jardin du Luxembourg
2008-08-26

Jardin du Luxembourg

                                                             
Borders of annuals in AugustThe Jardin du Luxembourg is a 224,500 m² public park and the largest in the city, located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, France. Luxembourg is the garden of the French Senate, which is itself housed in the Luxembourg Palace.

These gardens include a large fenced-in playground that is very popular with local young children and their parents. Adjacent to it is a puppet theatre and a merry-go-round. On occasion, pony rides are also available. In addition, free musical performances are presented in a gazebo on the grounds and there is an anonymous, inexpensive restaurant nearby, under the trees, with both indoor and outdoor seating from which many people enjoy the music over a glass of wine.

The garden is famed for its calm atmosphere. On the little pond children play with miniature boats. The garden contains various statues and sculptures. Surrounding the pond are a series of statues of former French queens.

The École nationale supérieure des Mines de Paris and the Odéon theatre stand next to the Luxembourg Garden.


History & Background
The Gardens came about as a result of Henri IV's assassination in 1610. His wife, Marie de Medicis, could not continue living in the Louvre with his memory. She had the Palais du Luxembourg and the surrounding gardens built to replicate her childhood home, Florence's Palazzo Pitti. The Luxembourg Gardens were completed in 1625, but did not reach their present dimensions until 1790. The park has been open to the public since the 17th century. The construction of nearby streets and avenues during the Second Empire reduced its size, but not its general appearance.

Some of the Gardens' more notable features include the Medicis Fountain, erected in 1861, and a bronze replica of the Statue of Liberty. The park, which closes at sunset, also has a multitude of strolling paths, and is filled with hundreds of movable chairs, which can be rented. Outdoor concerts also occur in the Luxembourg Gardens.

The design is basically formal: a central parterre dominated by terraces. Allees of trees surround the central terraces and continue in every direction except north, where the Palais du Luxembourg dominates. A free, more English-style garden is situated along Rue Guynemer and Rue Auguste-Comte; it was built during the first Empire and contains winding paths, grassy open areas, and a wide array of sculpture.


Why It Works
The Luxembourg Gardens may well be one of the most successful parks in the world, partly because it is so well integrated into the fabric of the city around it, which makes it easily accessible. There are also many things to do Artsénat contemporary art sculpture exhibition, "Femme y es-tu?" (Woman, are you there?). The exhibition features French and international artists focusing on aspects of womanhood. there, evidenced by the wide range of people who use it: children, older people, Sorbonne students, people cutting through on a lunch break, etc. People come to stroll, play chess, to sit and read, people watch, to sit at one of the cafes or to bring their children or grandchildren to one of the many attractions for kids. Organized activities at the park include tennis, pony rides, puppet theatres, and toy sailboat rental (children float them in the large central fountain). Visitors can also stop inside the Palais and attend a hearing of the French Senate, which is open to the public.

The Gardens also host innovative exhibits, such as one of aerial photographs from around the world, encased in plastic and displayed on the fence surrounding the garden; a large wooden platform displayed a map showing the sites of the photographs, with slippers provided for people who wanted to walk on it - which many did.


What's In
The Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Paris.

There are many sculptures scattered through out the grounds, including the Fountain des Médicis, statues of the Queens of France as well as one of Saint Genèvieve, the patron saint of Paris, Rodin's bust of Stendhal, Sicard's sculpture of George Sands, a miniature Statue of Liberty (a gift from Bartholdi to the City of Paris) and many, many others.

The Garden has a large children's playground with a carousel located nearby.

At the Grand Basin, model sailboats can be rented on Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and on school holidays from 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. in winter and until 7 p.m. in summer.

The Théâtre du Luxembourg presents marionette shows for all ages. Performances run on Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays at 3:30 p.m. and daily during summer with performances at 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Also available in the Garden are Shetland Pony rides for the smaller children.

Along with the 350,000 plants and flowers that are planted each spring, including 150 palm and orange trees, there is a garden of bee-hives. A "keeper of the hives" is there on Wednesdays and often on Saturdays and courses on bee-hive management are offered.

The Luxembourg Garden also has several tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, pétanque (boules or bocce ball) courts and tables for chess and other board games.
                      
                                                                                        

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