The little green Isle in the heart of the Latin quarter, known as the Jardin de Luxembourg, lends the perfect opportunity for a walk through its exquisitely kept verdure. Acquired by Henry IV’s wife at the beginning of the 17th century, the garden envelops the Palais de Luxembourg, which today houses the French Senate. Its present layout is the product of construction projects, notably those carried out by Baron Haussman in the 19th century.
The first sunrays on a winter day are the ideal time to enjoy the garden’s effulgence. During these deserted hours, the quaint paths and monumental statues will likely induce a string of deep reflections and pleasant daydreams. This almost mystical energy has lured great writers such as Rousseau, Balzac, and Gide for centuries. Enter via the gate at Rue de Fleurus to follow in the footsteps of their search for inspiration.
At busier hours, you’ll see crowds of students congregating during their breaks. Those who dare to indulge in a nap on the immaculate lawn soon find themselves chased off by the guards circulating on bicycles. If you can resist the alluring grass, stick to the chairs! In competition with the students, a rather savage flock of pigeons also settles in the garden. It’s said that they drove their last co-inhabitants—the crows, ravens, and jackoffs—to the Place Saint-Sulpice nearby at the turn of the last century.
The 40000 ft2 garden also posses an orchard, greenhouses, as well as an orchid collection dating back to 1838 which consists of over 1,000 species among which the national collection of Guyane is found. Visitors can admire the orchids annually during the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine held during the last week of September. The garden also features a beehive with numerous bee colonies where visitors can brush up on their apicultural skills. The honey gathered is sold only at the fall exposition.
A magical place uniting tradition and innovation—you can take a ride of one of Garnier’s carousels while browsing on the free wifi— bref the Jardin du Luxembourg is a Latin Quarter must see!
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