April 21, 2014

Luxembourg Gardens, Paris

On the Left Bank of Paris in the 6th arrondissement lies the lovely Luxembourg GardensJardin du Luxembourg.  This 60-acre island of tranquility is the city's second largest park and originally formed the grounds of a palace built by Marie de' Medici, the second wife of King Henry IV. The palace is now home to the French Senate.

Luxembourg Palace, Paris

The park is a popular destination for both tourists and Parisians with its beautiful annual borders, shady walkways and iconic chairs (the immaculate lawns are off-limits). Plantings in the annual borders are completely changed three times a year. The gardens were inspired by the Boboli Gardens of the Pitti Palace in Florence, where Marie de' Médici grew up.

The Central Parterre, Luxembourg Gardens

Luxembourg Chairs

Sculptures and fountains are scattered throughout the park. The Médici Fountain was built at the time of the palace but the sculpture of Polyphemus Surprising Acis and Galatea was added two centuries later.

The Médici Fountain, Luxembourg Gardens

Polyphemus Surprising Acis and Galatea, Auguste Ottin

The Greek Actor, Charles-Arthur Bourgeois

Monument to Edouard Branly

Family activities include boules and tennis courts, pony rides, a carousel and a puppet theatre. Toy sailboats can also be rented for sailing across the Grand Bassin in front of the palace.

The Grand Bassin Pond

Vintage Carousel

Shaded Walkways of Luxembourg Gardens

There's also an orchard of apple and pear trees, plus an apiary and beekeeping school. According to BBC News Europe, Paris has over 400 hives and is set to become "the urban beekeeping capital of the world" due to its pesticide-free status and wide variety of flowers.

Bee Houses, Luxembourg Gardens

More hives can be found on the rooftops of Parisian landmarks such as the Opera Garnier, the Grand Palais and the Tour d'Argent restaurant.

The Opera Garnier, Paris

If you need a break from a long day of sightseeing in Paris, the Luxembourg Gardens is a wonderful place to sit back, relax and appreciate nature.

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