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  • Writer's pictureTer Hollmann

A Brief History of the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris

What is the Jardin du Luxembourg?

Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris is an Italian Baroque style gardens dating back to the 17th century that incorporate the Palais du Luxembourg.

Jardin du Luxembourg lawns and statue

Jardin du Luxembourg History

Created as a retreat for Marie de’ Medici, wife to Henry IV and Queen of France, these gardens have become one of the most popular parks in the city. The Palais du Luxembourg, which now houses the French Senate, provides a handsome backdrop for anyone – not just monarchs – who is after some quiet or a stroll in the fresh air. Despite alterations in the 18th and 19th centuries, the gardens remain much as they did when first commissioned by the queen, inspired by the Boboli Gardens laid out for her family, the Medici, rulers of Florence.

As you wander through the picturesque grounds you’ll see over 100 statues, including some figures still famous today: composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven and Frédéric Chopin; 19th-century French novelist George Sand; and several French queens from across the centuries, embodied by charming statues. If you’re walking through the west of the garden, you’ll find a miniature replica of New York’s Statue of Liberty.

Children riding ponies at the Jardin du Luxembourg

In 1889, a group of Americans living in Paris donated the cast as a gift on the centennial of the French Revolution. However, in July 2012 the original was transferred to the Musée d'Orsay and replaced by an identical copy. In this part of the gardens you’ll also find Jules Dalou’s more monumental 19th-century Triumph of Silenus, a neo-Baroque work depicting Silenus, a companion of Dionysus (the Greek god of wine and revelry) in a drunken stupor. The northeast corner houses the impressive Medici fountain, designed by Salomon de Brosse (who also designed the Palais du Luxembourg) in the style of an Italianate Grotto.

Jardin du Luxembourg is also a chess lover’s paradise. The locals take their matches very seriously, so if someone accepts your challenge make sure to bring your best game.

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