4 May 2015

Jardin du Luxembourg

Our walking adventures continue with a walk through the 23 hectares of beautifully arranged trees, lawns and flowers that is the Jardin du Luxembourg.

The Jardin du Luxembourg's history goes back to the 1620s when it was designed as a backdrop to the Palais du Luxembourg. The palais was built for the consort of Henri IV, Marie de Medici. The palais is now home to the French Senate.

The garden is another example of the French fascination with wide boulevards, highly manicured trees and lawns, and ultimate control over people. Here, all the elegantly trimmed lawns are off-limits, to citizens, save one small wedge on the south of the park. Some lawns are clearly signed, though many are not, yet somehow people know they are forbidden to rest in these grassy areas. The official area allowed for use by common folk is usually crowded.

Napoleon dedicated the gardens to the children of Paris so it is filled with puppet shows, a carousel and general fun. It can become a busy place indeed, and everyone is welcome, provided they know enough to stay off the grass.

The gardens are home to over one hundred sculptures and to the smallish la liberté éclairant le monde. It looks oddly familiar for some reason.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2015.

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