Tourists in the GardensThe beautiful Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg), located in the heart of Paris, are open to the general public and attract not only tourists but also locals.
In the gardens you can find scattered statues of prominent figures from French history: female figures of French queens and figures of writers and poets.
There is plenty of room to relax, eat ice cream or drink coffee from the many stands in the area. You can enjoy the warm and relaxing sun, rest and gain energy for the trip in the Latin Quarter.
In the center of the garden there is a large pool surrounded by dozens of green chairs ment for tourists and they provide the perfect atmosphere for a moment of comfort and relaxation.
The gardens are not only an attractive destination for the Parisian population, but also for tourists:
You can rent a boat and let kids push it with long bamboo sticks from bank to bank of the big lake.
When you go up, to the center of the garden, you can ride around on ponies or if you are with younger children you can ride the local carriage.
Deeper in the park, you can find a carousel and a puppet theater that has shows almost every day and in the southwestern corner you can find beehives, and courses on how to raise them.
You can find places to read and play petanca (bowling) for adults, a romantic trip for couples or a lunch break for students, who usually come from the Sorbonne - the famous University of Paris, located right next to the gardens.
It is one of the most beautiful green pieces in Paris, with a proper blend of light and shade, trees and lawns, hidden corners and public spaces for both children and adults. Take a basket with a little food and a blanket - and go for a picnic.
The History of the GardensThe construction of the gardens began after the assassination of King Henry the 4th in 1610.
The widow of the king, Marie de Medici, could not bear to live in the Louvre filled with her shared memories with her husband and moved to the Luxembourg Palace.
In 1624 the construction of the Luxembourg Palace was completed for the widow, who ordered the architect, Salomon de Bruce, to build a Palazzo Pitti style palace, like the palace she left behind in her hometown, Florence . The gardens around it were designed to remind her of the landscape of her childhood.
The truth is, that although the Queen planned to spend the rest of her life in the palace, fate must have wanted something else, and in practice the royal widow had not lived in the palace for more than five years. She was exiled to Cologne in 1630 by the order of the new king . During the revolution, the palace was confiscated and for two years served as a prison; It was then designated as the location of the Assembly of Representatives. The monastery next to it was destroyed.
By the way, another historical anecdote - about the famous writer Ernest Hemingway, it is told that as a young man he was hungry for bread and used to go out to the gardens to hunt pigeons for consumption.
The Luxembourg Palace as ParliamentIn the heart of the symmetrical and impressive gardens is the Luxembourg Palace. The palace was originally built according to the design of the French architect Solomon de Bruxi, to serve as the royal residence of Marie de Medici, the mother of King Louis the 13th.
After the French Revolution it was re-designed by Jean Chalgrin and was converted into a parliament. The main staircase was destroyed and replaced by the Senate Hall on the first floor. Chalgrin also destroyed the Chapel de Medici. Calgarin closed the terraces and turned them into a library. At the same time he built a staircase in the western wing, which was surrounded by Ionic columns. The construction ended with the destruction of the gallery.
In early 1835, architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden aisle. The new Senate Hall was located in what was then the courtyard area between the gardens. The new aisle included a library with paintings by Eugene Delacroix. In 1850 by the request of Napoleon the 3rd, Gisors created a conference hall.
During the occupation of France by Nazi Germany in 1944, the palace became the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, and in general the palace was a strategic place for the German forces that defended the city.
During the year 1946, the palace was used as a venue for the Paris Peace Conference.
The Architecture of the Luxembourg GardensThe park and it's beautiful gardens manage to put nature in the heart of the Parisian urban fabric and makes travelers rest and feel embraced by nature.
Not only do the visitors get to experience the nature and space, the garden also has a magical atmosphere, it is beautifully maintained and the garden beds are designed in a meticulous French style. Self pruning and chestnuts attract Parisians and tourists of all ages.
In the center, you can see an octagonal pool with a fountain, where you can rent and sail on models of ancient sailboats. This part of the garden is decorated in a classic French style - with straight and symmetrical lines. While later, from the center to the edge, the style become like an English garden style, in a less formal way of curving paths and random clusters of trees.
The current design of the gardens was given to them in the 19th century by architect Shagran.
The Luxembourg Gardens FountainThe Luxembourg Gardens attract to the 57 dunam on which are spread, many tourists and locals, because of the well-tended gardens, the wonderful sculptures and the relaxed and Parisian atmosphere.
But one of the true charms of the garden, which is not visited too much by tourists, is the spectacular Medici fountain.
The fountain was built in 1630 and has deep routes in the rich French history. Because of location, in an isolated corner of the garden and because the boulevard of tall trees hides it a little, many visitors are unaware of its existence. The fountain was also commissioned by Marie de Medici in 1624. She wanted to give it typical Italian mannerism features: a complex fountain, an artificial cave decorated with statues, just like the one she knew from the Beauntanti Cave in the Boboli Gardens.
The architect Tommaso Francini, who was in charge of the fountains and water, in the gardens of the Medici villas in Prinza and Rome, was chosen for the construction and planning of the fountain.
He created a large water basin leading to a huge sculpted fountain, topped by two statues of nymphs spilling water from their hands and a gable bearing the Medici emblem.
The fountain was located on the left bank of Paris, where free water flowed and the groundwater was quite deep, and therefore considered one of the wonders of that period.
After Medici's death, in the mid 18th century, the fountain needed serious repairs due to poor maintenance. The neglect was so severe that the statues on the fountain disappeared (to this day they do not know when exactly they were stolen) and the supporting wall collapsed. In 1811 Napoleon appointed architect Jean Chagran to renovate the fountain, the same architect who created the Arc de Triomphe.
During the reign of Napoleon the 3rd, it underwent another incarnation (by architect Alphonse de Gizur), which shifted its position by 28 meters to make way for the construction of a street behind it. In the empty space left behind, another fountain was built, the "Leda and the Swan", which stood in one of the adjacent streets and the two matched each other like a glove. To the sorrow of the original Medici fountain, most visitors focus on her new sister.
Another of its changes was the addition of two new sculptures representing the Seine and Heron rivers at the top of the fountain, where the nymphs once stood. He reconstructed the Medici emblem that had been damaged in the French Revolution and set up a sculpture set by the sculptor August Otten.