Le Luxembourg : the ultimate Parisian Garden
Be sitted in one the famous chair specifically designed by the city hall workshop in the 1920′s, on a sunny day, pretend to read a book, and just look at the studants coming back from the Sorbonne University…. just do that, and you will become a real Parisian.
I can not remember how many hours I stayed there, reading, walking or taking picture. I think this is the place I most photographed. This big park, which is now the senate’s garden, has been created for Marie de Medicis in 1612. it’s located in the 6th arrondissement. One of the main entrance is at the cross of Saint Michel’s boulevard and rue Souflot. I strongly recommend to arrive to the park by rue Souflot, after “climbing” the Sainte Geneviève’s hill and admire the Pantheon, this magnificent palace built on the top of the “rive gauche”. There was the place of the first roman forum of Lutece ( previous name of the city)
Before entering the park, you may find an art exhibition ( photography, most of the time) on the park gates. When you’re inside, you must choose your camp: under the trees, near the music house, down around the basin, or in the other part, near to kids and sport playgrounds. There’s a real life in that park: the senators may cross the park , with their grey suit and their counselors, elderly living in the neighborhood who come to have a rest under the large trees, students who come their with their sandwiches and books, mother and children, playing around the basin. Before to go in the other part of the park I suggest you look for a good chair and have a rest here.
I must warn you that he fight for a chair is a kind of national sport here. It’s a combination of observation, strategy and agility. But the best fighters will get the ultimate trophy: a long chair with armrest plus a second one for the feet! Then you’ll have to move it to have the perfect sun exposure and view ( and it’s as heavy as an anvil!) Then make yourslef confortable, take a book, whatever it is, and….. this is it, you’re a Parisian.
The second part of the park is much more active: you can watch a game at the tennis court or the basketball playground. You can go with your children watch the traditional puppet show in the little theater, or let them play in the children playground. Then you can observe the fights of the chess players playing on their enamelled lava table. There’s sometime up to 200 players per day here, and if you look carefully, you can even find a international master among the anonymous people.
Then you can turn right after the Luxembourg museum, where there is often good painting exhibition (if you are ready to queue for hours) and you exit of the park by a small gate that can drive you directly to small streets of the 6th arrondissement, with Saint Sulpice’s place and church…. but that’s the beginning of another story
1: Good spot to have a drink: the terrace of the Rostang: typical french brasserie
2: Take a armchair near the central basin
3:The french senate Palace
4: Tennis courts
5: Guignol theater: traditional french puppets
6: Chess tables
7: Musée du Luxembourg and exit to Saint Sulpice
Link to the Luxembourg Palace official website: here