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Luxembourg Gardens

This peaceful retreat in the atmospheric Latin Quarter is a popular spot to chill with the locals.

When the going gets hot, locals head for the leafy tranquillity of the Luxembourg Gardens on Paris’s bohemian Left Bank. Students from the nearby Sorbonne University, mothers with young children and office workers all treat this lovely park as a home from home.

The gardens are in the grounds of the opulent Luxembourg Palace, now the headquarters of the French Senate. There’s a boating lake and a vintage carousel to keep the little ones amused, as well as pony rides. Business colleagues get together around one of the shady tables to enjoy a game of chess or discuss the latest scandals. Young people gather in groups or stretch out on the grass with a book, while old couples doze amicably in the warm sunshine. This is truly a park of the people.

During the summer there are free outdoor classical concerts, and the Luxembourg Museum mounts a regular programme of exhibitions. The puppet theatre is popular with families, and a lovely orchard of apple and pear trees brings colour and fragrance to the south-west corner.

The centrepiece of the park is the Medici Fountain, famous for its sculpture of the giant Polyphemus surprising the lovers Acis and Galatea by the celebrated French sculptor Auguste Ottin. Wander through the park to admire its many fountains and sculptures, such as the original small-scale model of the Statue of Liberty by Frédéric Bartholdi, as well as statues of great musicians and artists including Baudelaire, Beethoven and George Sand.

Before you leave, stop by the café near the gazebo and enjoy a baguette and a glass of wine while you watch the world go by.

Entrance to the park is free but there is a small charge for the children’s playground. Opening hours vary according to season, with full details published on the website.


Guide to Exploring Luxembourg Gardens


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