Luxembourg Garden – The Most famous Garden of Paris

by | Jun 2, 2024 | Blog Paris and France, Green Paris

Luxembourg Garden – Paris Most Famous Garden

by | Jun 2, 2024 | Blog Paris and France, Green Paris

Many consider the Luxembourg Garden (in French Jardin du Luxembourg) the best in Paris. In the earth of the Left bank (south part of Paris), if it is true that it can’t compete with its right bank (north part of Paris) concurrent, the Tuileries garden, in terms of perspective (The perspective of the Tuileries garden continues to the Champs-Élysés and the Arc de Triomphe), the Luxembourg Garden is a large winner in terms of charms and diversity.

A Short History of the Luxembourg Palace

The History of the garden goes back to Queen Marie de Medicis. Raised in Florence, Italy, she commissioned a palace in the style of Florence Palais Pitti on the left bank of Paris: Le Palais du Luxembourg.

The Palace later remained in the hands of the Borbon family (then the royal family of France) until the French Revolution confiscated it. During the Napoleonic period, it was attributed to the high chamber.

Since then, the palace has been the seat of the upper houses of the various French national legislatures. Nowadays, it houses the French Senat (high chamber).

Although it is a public garden, the Luxembourg Garden is part of the estate of the French Senat, which is in charge of its management and maintenance.

The Luxembourg Garden Nowadays

The Luxembourg Garden can be divided into four parts.

  • 1/ The central perspective: from Palais de Luxembourg to Avenue de l’Observatoire, with its famous pond in the middle.
  • 2/ The eastern part beside the boulevard Saint-Michel.
  • 3/ The western part beside rue Guynemer.
  • 4/ The southwest end beside rue Auguste Comte. 

The Central Perspective

The central part of the Luxembourg Garden was designed by Lenôtre, the famous Sun King landscape architect who designed the gardens of Versailles and one of the Tuilleries. However, he did not have as much space in Luxembourg to develop his perspective as in Versailles and the Tuileries.

This part of the garden is, before all, famous for its central pond, surrounded by statues dedicated to the Queen of France and some of the most famous feminine of France. Notably at the east of the pond zone is a sculpture of Saint Genevieve, who saved Paris from the Huns tribes at the end of the 5th century, and at the south-west of the pond, Mari de Medicis, the queen of France, who commissioned the palace. Just beside is Valentina Visconti, Duchess of Orléans, who died in 1408, one year after her husband’s assassination, and later became in the 19th century a main figure of romanticism.

Photo of the Palais du Luxembourg and its famous gardens.

Saint Genevieve, patron saint of Paris

The pond is famous for its model boats for children, which have existed since the end of the 19th century. It inspired the model boat pond in Conservatory Water in Central Park in Manhattan, New York.

Ater the pound, the perspective includes a big lawn which is the only one of the garden autorized to the public. 

Because the castle’s land is not deep, the traditional groves of the French formal garden were installed laterally on the east and west sides of the castle’s land.

The eastern part of the Luxembourg garden

The eastern part of the garden is beside Boulevard Saint-Michel.  Most of the groves in this part of the garden were recently replanted.

Starting from the park entry just beside the Odeon can be seen:

  • A remarkable tree.
  • A monument to the French resistance during WWII.
  • The bandstand (gazebo) of the parc.
  • A medaillon by Rodin representing French 19th century novelist Stendahl.

But the most famous attraction of this side of the garden is the Fountaine Medicis, which has been in the park since its beginning.

This part of the park is also famous for its stunning view of the Panthéon.

Our Paris full-day tour includes, arriving from the Panthéon a short walk in the Luxembourg Garden

The Western part Of the Luxembourg Garden

The western part of the garden is beside rue Guynemen. This part is much bigger than the eastern one and it is where most of the park’s diversity can be found.

In the north, just beside the Palace of Luxembourg (where the Senat is), is the residence of the President of the Senat; this “smaller” palace is called the Petit Luxembourg.

Just beside is the Orangerie, where the garden’s exotic trees (orange trees, etc.) are stored in the winter.

The Northern part of the Orangerie bordering the Vaugirard street is now the famous Musée du Luxembourg, which is also part of the Senat estate. Nevertheless in 2010 the Sénat delegated its running to the “Réunion des Musée Nationaux“. The Museum specialized in temporary exhibitions (Rubens, Tintoret, Chagall, Fragonard, etc. ).

Just beside the Orangerie (at the east) is an old Micocoulier and some horsed chestnut trees, which are said to be planted with chestnuts coming from Monticello plantation (Virginia).

The westernmost part of the garden is designed as an English garden with lawns brightened up with remarkable trees (cigar tree or catalpa).

There, you can admire a romantic bust of Chopin or a neo-classical replica of one of the French models for the Statue of Liberty (the original is in Musée d’Orsay).

A classical, formal French garden grove area is between the English and pond areas.

This is the zone where most of the attractions are.

Chess tables, tennis court, Basket court, pétanque (famous French boules game) play areas, etc.

There is also poney riding, a wood horse carrousel, swings, and Guignol (the famous French traditional puppet theater) for children.

The Orsay and Saint-Germain Guided Tour may include a walk in the north part of this western section of the Luxembourg Garden.  

The southwest end

This garden zone beside rue Auguste Comte is shared between another English garden (red sequoias, horse chestnut trees, etc.) and an orchard.

The Luxembourg Garden Orchard is impressive, showing a huge variety of pear trees and apple trees.

Since 1856 there is also a bee hive in the Luxembourg Garden. It is famous for producing qualitative honey (There are more than 200 000trees in Paris and pesticides are forbidden).

The Luxembourg Garden offers horticulture courses and has its own apiary school.

Pin It on Pinterest