/ / Luxembourg Gardens in Paris: 14 Things To Do (+ History & Practical Tips)

Luxembourg Gardens in Paris: 14 Things To Do (+ History & Practical Tips)

Planning to visit the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris? This article will show you everything you need to know from its history and what to do to practical tips!

Nestled in the heart of Paris’s Left Bank between the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Luxembourg Gardens or Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the most beautiful parks in Paris.

Known for its beautiful French and English-styled gardens that are spread across nearly 60 acres (25 hectares), this park is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, offering a variety of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages and interests.

Luxembourg Palace on a sunny day

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So, even if you’re in Paris for a day or a weekend, make sure to add the Luxembourg Gardens to your itinerary.

And to help you get the most out of your visit, I’ve put together this complete guide to the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris detailing everything you need to know before your visit. From its history to the various activities and attractions not to miss.

Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips

Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (8.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)  

A Brief History of Luxembourg Gardens in Paris

Portrait of Marie de Médicis

Portrait of Marie de Médicis – Frans Pourbus the Younger, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jardin du Luxembourg dates back to the 17th century when Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV and regent to her son, Louis XIII wanted to build a palace inspired by Pitti Palace from her native city of Florence.

Marie de’ Medici was a passionate patron of the arts and a lover of nature, and she envisioned the Palace of Luxembourg as a place where she could indulge her passions.

So, in 1612, she commissioned a team of architects and landscapers to create a sprawling garden complex that would surround the palace and provide a peaceful retreat from the city’s busy streets.

Though it started as a “smaller” garden, she bought more land in 1630 and expanded it and even added an octagonal basin with a fountain. This is also the same year the famous Medici Fountain was constructed.

Painting of Luxembourg Gardens in 1887 by Albert Edelfelt

Painting of Luxembourg Gardens in 1887 by Albert Edelfelt – Albert Edelfelt, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

When Medici passed away, she left the Luxembourg palace to her second son, and over the years, it changed ownership until 1750 when the palace was converted into a museum. It was shortly opened to the public and it became the first art museum to open to the public.

After that, the palace was used for a number of things throughout history. It was briefly a prison in 1793 during the French Revolution, the seat of the senate during the Napoleon I era, a parliamentary seat, back to being a seat of the French Senate in 1879, and an art museum. In 1884, the museum was moved into the former orangery of the palace.

Fast forward to 1946, the palace once again became the seat of the French Senate till date.

Due to the long and storied Luxembourg Gardens’ history, it remains an integral part of Parisian life, attracting millions of visitors yearly.

What to Do at Luxembourg Gardens in Paris

With its breathtaking gardens, historic landmarks, and diverse activities and attractions, the park offers something for everyone, no matter your interests.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply looking to relax and enjoy some of the most stunning scenery in Paris, the Luxembourg Gardens is the perfect place. So, if you’re wondering what to do at the Luxembourg Gardens, here are some of the fun things to do.

1. Take in The Beauty of the gardens

People seated on green chairs in Luxembourg Gardens

Since the Luxembourg Gardens are meticulously maintained and feature a variety of plants, flowers, and trees, you can sit on one of the iconic green chairs or the benches scattered around the park and leisurely admire the beauty of the manicured grounds, read a book, or chill by the basin.

If you’re a nature enthusiast or want to explore a greater variety of foliage and blooms, something that might interest you are the greenhouses which house many exotic plants and flowers, and the rose garden.

2. Go For a Picnic in Luxembourg Gardens

me picnicking at Luxembourg gardens
me picnicking at Luxembourg gardens

Visiting the gardens on a sunny day? Then carry a blanket and picnic basket with some goodies and enjoy a picnic. You can read my ultimate guide to planning a Parisian picnic for more tips.

Do note, however, that most grassy areas in the park are off-limits so be mindful of where you sit. The areas that are off-limits are usually marked with a “keep off the grass” sign so you’ll be able to see them.

Also, the grassy area that permits sitting tends to get crowded so if your plan is to picnic, arrive early to get a spot and know that you’re likely to be really close to other groups of picnickers.

Otherwise, you may try other parks that have large picnic areas like Parc Monceu, Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and more.

3. Take a walk or jog

Walking path in Luxembourg gardens
Walking path in Luxembourg Gardens

Luxembourg Gardens is a beautiful place for a leisurely stroll or a brisk jog. There are several paths that wind throughout the park, so you can enjoy a peaceful walk or jog while taking in the scenery.

It’s not uncommon to see Parisians jogging through the park’s wide-open spaces and tree-lined promenades.

4. Visit the Apiary

One of the things that might surprise you about Luxembourg Gardens is the presence of the Apiary and a bee-keeping school.

Constructed in 1867 by architect Gabriel Davioud, Pavillon Davioud houses a horticulture school and a small apiary known as Rucher du Luxembourg.

Pass by to see the wooden beehives and if you’re visiting Paris in the fall, be sure to attend Fete du Miel (Honey festival) held for 2 days in September to buy and taste Luxembourg gardens-made honey.

5. Explore Musée du Luxembourg

Musée du Luxembourg

Patrick Nouhailler, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Established in 1750, the Musée du Luxembourg is an art museum housed in the beautiful Luxembourg Palace within the Luxembourg Gardens.

It was the first French museum to open to the general public and it started with just a mere 100 paintings with 24 being portraits of Medicis.

The museum’s collection grew over the years to include an extensive collection of art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.

However, most of them were moved to other museums like the Louvre and Orsay Museum.

Today, the museum, a part of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, hosts 2 temporary exhibitions a year (the exhibits extend for months) mostly from the 20th century and feature works by some of the most famous artists in history. Be sure to check the museum’s official website to know the current exhibit.

6. Admire the Medici Fountain

Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens

La Fontaine Médicis or the Medici Fountain is one of the most monumental fountains in Paris.

Built in the 17th century at the request of Marie de’ Medici, it features a grotto with a central statue of Polyphemus, the Cyclops from Greek mythology, a large basin, and trees lined beside it.

The Medici Fountain also features the Medici coat of arms, which pays homage to the fountain’s patroness, Marie de’ Medici.

After falling into ruins for years (after the death of Medici), the fountain was restored and modified by architect Jean Chalgrin in the 19th century. He added a long basin and adorned the fountain with statues of nymphs and other mythical creatures.

What you may not have known is that this fountain was not always in its current location!

During the Haussmannisation of Paris (the time Baron Haussmann did a major renovation of Paris), he planned to create a road where the fountain was located, and to avoid destroying it, a new architect moved it 30 metres to its current location.

Besides admiring it, you can also sit on one of the green chairs and relax with a book in hand or watch the world go about.

7. Scout for Sculptures and Statues

Strolling through Paris’s beautiful gardens and parks is one of the fun things to do on a solo trip to Paris.

Luxembourg Gardens is not only a beautiful park but also an open-air museum. With 106 sculptures scattered throughout the park, strolling through it will feel like a visit to an expansive open-air museum.

You’ll find sculptures and statues about Greek and Roman mythology, including gods and goddesses, cherubs, and nymphs, and statues that celebrate artists like French musicians, painters, poets, and French royalty.

Some of these include a collection of statues of the Queens of France like Marie de’ Medici, the monument to Delacroix, the bust of Beethoven, L’Effort, Sainte Genevieve, George Sand, and many others.

8. See One of the Replicas of the Statue of Liberty

Luxembourg Gardens has one of the replicas of the statue of liberty in Paris.

Eutouring, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you didn’t know this already, Paris has its own version of the Statue of Liberty!

While many are familiar with the one at Île aux Cygnes (Isle of the Swans) a Parisian artificial island in the 15th arrondissement since it’s the biggest, what many don’t know is that there are other replicas of the Statue of Liberty in Paris and one can be found in Luxembourg gardens.

This statue is located on the western edge of the Luxembourg Gardens and next to it is an American oak tree with a plaque that commemorates the victims of 9/11.

9. Watch a puppet show

Can you imagine a puppet theater in a park? Well, that’s what the Theatre des Marionnettes du Jardin du Luxembourg is!

In 1933, Robert Desarthis, son of a toymaker, found himself in a competition show among other puppeteers in a run to find who will conduct puppet shows in Luxembourg palace.

With the help of the senates’ kids who were the judges on who the best puppeteer was during the show, Robert Desarthis was crowned winner and there was no looking back.

The theatre, which is the largest of its kind in France is home to Guignol, the main character in French puppet shows making it the perfect stop for those who are into puppets.

And if you’re traveling to Paris with kids, this is one of the places they’ll enjoy so much since the show is geared towards them.

Do note though that shows are only on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays, and school holidays.

10. Relax by the Grand Basin

Grand Bassin at Luxembourg Gardens

One of the highlights of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris is the Grand Basin located opposite the palace.

For adults, you can just sit on one of the green chairs and watch the world go by, and if you’re traveling with little kids, you can rent small boats for them to sail around the octagonal basin. They’ll have so much fun trying to sail their boats as far as they can.

11. Take The Kids to the playground

Speaking of traveling with kids, another place in the Luxembourg Gardens that kids will enjoy is the playground known as LudoJardin.

The playground is big and well-equipped with a zipline, slides, swings, sandboxes, climbing obstacles, and various other things that kids of up to 8/10 years will enjoy.

The playground is fenced so you don’t have to worry about kids wandering off far. The only downside to this park is that you have to pay a few euros for a kid and 1 euro for an adult to access it.

Besides the playground, other activities in the park that are kid-friendly include riding one of the oldest carousels in Paris called Manége Garnier which was designed by Charles Garnier, who you might remember as the architect of the Palais Garnier. The merry-go-round dates back to 1879.

You can also pay for your kids to ride a pony, though this is usually possible in the summer months only.

Luxembourg gardens statue and columns

12. Enjoy Other Sporting Activities the Park Offers

Kids are not the only ones to participate in various activities while in the park. There are several activities for adults too.

You can play tennis at the park’s tennis courts (you’ll need to come with your equipment), or Pétanque, a popular French sport.

If you opt for the former, you should note that the courts open and close at the same time as the gardens and you’ll need a tennis pass which you can get for free from the tennis court attendant.

13. Take in The Views of The Paris Pantheon

View of the Paris Pantheon from the Luxembourg gardens

Since the Luxembourg Gardens are not far from the Paris Pantheon, it is the perfect place to enjoy a beautiful view of its dome.

However, not all places in the gardens offer views. The only place I found that gives a picture-perfect view is one just next to the Medici fountain. (Picture shown above.)

14. Admire the Senate Building

View of the Senate Building in Luxembourg Gardens

While visiting the gardens, take some time to take in the architectural beauty of the palace, which now houses the senate.

Practical Tips for Visiting The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris

Sculpture in Luxembourg Gardens
Sculpture in Luxembourg Gardens

How to Get to Luxembourg Gardens

To get to the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, you can either take RER B which is right at the edge of the gardens and stop at Gare du Luxembourg.

The other option is to use the Metro. Metros near the park include Odéon and Maubert – Mutualité on line 10 (M10) or Vavin, Odéon, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and Saint-Placide on line 4 (M4).

Restaurants in Luxembourg Gardens

While engaging in all the fun things to do in Luxembourg Gardens, you’re bound to get hungry, and luckily for you, there are some restaurants on site if you didn’t pack a picnic.

Mademoiselle Angelina: As with all other Angelina teahouses in Paris, this one doesn’t disappoint either. It’s located within Musée du Luxembourg, but you don’t need to buy a museum ticket to access it. Address: 19 rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris.

La Table du Luxembourg: You can grab a hot beverage or French pastries and chill on their outdoor terrace. Address: 7 Rue Guynemer, 75006 Paris.

La Terrasse de Madame cafe: This cafe is near the Medici fountain and it’s usually crowded, so you’ll need to go early. Address: 138 Rue de Médicis, 75006 Paris.

Other Nearby Places to Combine Your Visit to Luxembourg Gardens With

Eglise Saint-Sulpice is one of the places to visit near Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Eglise Saint-Sulpice

If you want to just spend a few hours in the gardens, I recommend adding these nearby places to your itinerary.

Explore the Latin Quarter: Since the park is located on the border of the Latin Quarter, you can visit this Parisian neighborhood on the same day. Not sure what to do there? You can check out my post on the best things to do in the Latin Quarter.

Walk through Saint-Germain-des-Prés: This is another nearby neighborhood worth exploring after visiting the Luxembourg Gardens. You can check out my article on the best things to do in Saint-Germain-des-Prés to know what to do in the area.

Paris Pantheon: Located less than 10 minutes away on foot, this monument is the final resting place of some of the most famous French people including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, and more.

Zadkine Museum: If you’re into sculptures, this museum is just 6 minutes away from the park.

Église Saint-Sulpice: This is one of the famous churches in Paris with an architectural beauty that is impressive both inside and outside. It is located just 4 minutes from the park.

FAQs About Visiting Jardin du Luxembourg

Luxembourg gardens landscape
Luxembourg Gardens Landscape

How long does it take to walk through Luxembourg Gardens?

It really depends on your visiting style. If you’re just walking through without stopping, I’d say 30-40 minutes are enough to explore the park, but if you’re also visiting the places and participating in activities I’ve mentioned above, I’d say you need about 2- 4 hours to take in the park’s beauty.

Why are Luxembourg Gardens famous?

Jardin du Luxembourg is famous for mostly its beauty! In fact, it’s usually called the most beautiful park in Paris. With a large basin in the middle, well-maintained grassy areas, flowers, sculptures, and the beautiful Luxembourg Palace, it’s easy to see why.

Luxembourg Gardens in spring
Luxembourg Gardens in spring

Are Luxembourg Gardens Free?

Yes, visiting the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris is absolutely free.

Are Luxembourg Gardens worth visiting?

If you have to visit just one park in Paris, let it be this! In other words, yes, it’s worth visiting the Luxembourg Gardens.

Can you eat in Luxembourg Gardens?

Yes! To eat in the Luxembourg Gardens, you can either carry your own picnic or dine at one of the onsite restaurants I mentioned above.

What time does Luxembourg Gardens open?

The opening hours depend on the season. In winter, they open from 8.15 am to 4:30 pm and from 7.30 am to 9:30 pm in summer.

Are Luxembourg Gardens open at night?

Yes and No! In winter, they’re not open at night but in summer, they extend up to 9:30 pm.

How far apart are the Louvre and Luxembourg Gardens?

They’re about 18km (0.8 miles) apart which will take you close to 20 minutes on foot and about 12 minutes by metro.

Luxembourg gardens-basin with sail boats

Can You Picnic In The Luxembourg Gardens?

Yes, you can picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens but as I mentioned earlier, most of the grassy areas are forbidden to picnic from leaving just a few spots for all the picnickers in the park which makes it a bit hard to find a spot unless you arrive early.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Luxembourg Gardens in Paris

With so much to see and do, there is no doubt that you will have a delightful and unforgettable experience in Luxembourg Gardens, after all, it is one of the most beautiful and iconic parks in Paris.

If you’ve already visited, let me know what you enjoyed doing here the most but if you haven’t yet, the Luxembourg Gardens are waiting for you!

Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris

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