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Jardin du Luxembourg (at the Palais du Luxembourg)

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Architect Salomon de Brosse designed the Palais du Luxembourg for Marie de Medici, mother of Louis XIII.

The palace took its name from the adjacent property, owned by the Duc de Luxembourg.

Although the Queen Mother resided there as of 1625, construction was not completed until 1631. It was modeled after the palaces of Florence, Italy, where Marie was raised, and has had quite a tumultuous history. Of the original interiors, not much remains, although works were commissioned from such masters as Peter Paul Rubens. During the French Revolution, the palace was used as a prison. Napoleon Bonaparte began his term as First Consul in residence there, and during the German Occupation of World War II, Hermann Goring used the palace as his headquarters for the Luftwaffe.

Today it is the home of the French Senate and admittance is by reservation only, and must be made far in advance.

The lovely Jardin du Luxembourg, on the other hand, belongs to all. It is a well-used, much loved, popular park. During Spring and Summer, the gardens are spectacular, sporting dazzling arrays of formal flower gardens, ablaze with color.

Pull up a metal park chair alongside the Grand Bassin and watch the children float their model sailboats. Puffy white clouds against the bluest of skies, hyacinths, daffodils, the sounds of laughter rejuvenate the city-weary brain.

The Fontaine des Medicis, a fanciful Baroque fountain and long fish pond, was built around 1630 in honor of the Queen and her Florentine roots.

In the summer, live concerts are scheduled regularly on the bandstand, and a café that spills out into the park, beneath tall trees, is a delightful place to sit.

The great attraction for parents and kids is undoubtedly, the Theatre des Marionnettes, where classic guignols, puppet shows, entertain the young ones on Wednesday afternoons and weekends.

Stone terraces, sculptures and fountains grace the gardens, but in the southeast corner of the park, a most unusual establishment can be found.

Le Rucher de Luxembourg is a beekeeping school, founded by Henri Hamet in 1856. For a brief period, during Baron Haussmann’s urbanization campaign, the school was forced to close, but reopened in 1872 by decree of the Minister of Finance, allocating a certain amount of property to the school. Still going strong, and supported by the Senate, each year diplomas are still awarded, and in September, the Miel (honey) du Rucher du Luxembourg is sold at an exposition, celebrating the ongoing tradition of beekeeping in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Other places to find ruches (hives) in Paris are atop the two opera houses, and local honey can sometimes be purchased at Fauchon on the Place de la Madeleine.

FYI: At the eastern entrance of the gardens, at 2, place Edmond -Rostand, one of the boutiques of the patisserie Dalloyau can be found. Grab a scrumptious morsel of something to take into the park and enjoy Life the Medici way, one feast, one palace, one garden at a time.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Rue de Vaugirard, de Medici, Guyemer, Auguste-Comte
6th Arrondisement
RER: Luxembourg



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