May 21, 2009

Paris: Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg is a favorite park for Parisians and a wonderful outing for visitors, too. The open spaces and green lawns are backed by the stately Palais that was built in 1610 under the direction of Marie de Medici (that same Medici family from Florence, Italy), the widow of Henry IV and mother of Louis XIII. The palace is now home to the French Senate.

Jardin du Luxembourg was only a 20 minute walk from our apartment in Paris. Although it was a cloudy and cool day, we dined outside at a patisserie, Dalloyau, to have cafe express (espresso) and a just-baked pain au chocolate (chocolate filled croissant) for breakfast before visiting the gardens. We visited the gardens several years ago when our two sons were with us. We didn't venture through much of the gardens on that trip, so I was ready to see more of floral displays this time.

Wide gravel paths, in sun and in the shade, are filled with Parisians throughout the 22 hectare park. With the large size of the park, it doesn't fill crowded. This is a beautiful place to people watch... French queens, saints and mythological characters are among the sculptures that dot the landscape.

There are plenty of chairs circling the central pond where children maneuver their remote-controlled sailboats while mother ducks maneuver their tiny ducklings out of the way.

Flower beds are planted with seasonal annuals and large containers of orange trees are rolled out into the formal gardens in the spring. The French combination of tulips and forget-me-nots were in many of the flower beds. Wallflowers and dusty miller were also used in abundance in broad swaths of gardens. Formal, clipped miniature hedges were edging many of the gardens around the palace. There are informal cottage garden flowers mixed in large borders, even within the formal lines of the gardens.

For all the grandeur of the setting, the Jardin du Luxembourg is a relaxed park for everyone to enjoy.

Story and photos by Freda Cameron; Location: Paris, France; May 2009
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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