The Jardin du Luxembourg is a great place to take kids for some outdoor playtime on a visit to Paris as the gardens are packed with activities that are sure to keep the entire family entertained for a couple of hours.
The Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens), at approximately 22 hectares, is the second largest public park in Paris and a delightful place to take your kids for some outdoor playtime while vacationing in the city.
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The gardens have a prime location on the Left Bank in the 6th arrondissement near Sorbonne University and are popular with visitors as well as Parisians. The gardens can be quite a lively spot, particularly when the weather is nice, because there are so many things to do there.
We flew overnight from Toronto to Paris and arrived at Le Prince Régent Résidence & Spa before 10am on a Saturday morning. As our room was not yet ready, we left our luggage with the reception desk and headed out for a walk and some fresh air. Luxembourg Gardens was only a few minutes away so we headed there to while away some time. As this was early in March, the flower beds were in the process of being prepared, the pond (Le Grand Bassin) was empty, and the weather was a bit overcast and brisk but we still enjoyed our walk in the gardens. There were a few other people out walking in the gardens and more runners than I had ever expected to see in Paris.
Excited to arrive at Luxembourg Gardens
A view of the Pantheon from Luxembourg Gardens
The grounds that became known as the Jardin du Luxembourg were purchased by Marie de Médici, who was the widow of Henri IV, early in the 17th century and construction began on a palace and gardens. The gardens were completed in 1625 but continued to be expanded through the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The formal gardens are centred around a large fountain (Le Grand Bassin) and several allées of trees radiate out from the fountain. Beginning in the 1800’s, the gardens became home to many statues including Queens of France and female saints such as St. Geneviève (the patron saint of Paris), monuments to writers and artists, a model of Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, and a monument to student resistance fighters from World War II.
The Palais du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Palace) was also originally built to the specifications of Marie de Médici to remind her of her childhood home in Florence, Italy. Today the palace is home to the French Senate and also houses temporary art exhibits. Regrettably, we didn’t have time to explore inside the Palais.
Posing in front of the Palais de Luxembourg
Clock face on Luxembourg Palace
The gardens contain more than 100 statues, monuments and fountains and Emma loved strolling the gardens to find her favourites. Around the central garden space and Le Grand Bassin are a series of French queens and female saints which she found quite intriguing.
Posing with Statues in Luxembourg Gardens
Resistance Monument in Luxembourg Gardens
Emma’s favourite statue by far was Pan as he is one of her favourite mythological creatures.
I was most impressed by the 17th century Fontaine de Médicis (The Medici Fountain) which was designed to resemble a grotto in an Italian Renaissance garden.
The Luxembourg Gardens are a popular spot on the Left Bank because there is so much to do. Visitors walk or jog the pathways or simply pull up a chair around Le Grand Bassin to soak up the atmosphere, read a book or watch children sail boats among the ducks. There is an enclosed playground for young children, donkey and pony rides, a carousel, carriage rides and a Théâtre des Marionnettes (puppet theatre). There are also food stands and outdoor cafés which makes it a great place for a snack break in the midst of a busy day of sightseeing.
We returned on our last day in Paris to attend a performance at the Children’s Puppet Theatre. We had promised Emma at the beginning of our stay that we would do this before we left but as the performances only take place on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays we had not been able to fit it in before our last Sunday. The performances are in French, however, Emma, who speaks minimal French, enjoyed the production of Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood) which we attended.
The shows tend to be familiar fairy tales and English speaking kids should have no trouble understanding the gist of the story being acted out by the puppets. Each of the shows feature a French character called Guignol who was very popular with, and familiar to, the young crowd attending our performance. There is also a great deal of interaction with the audience and physical humour in the performance. Emma loved the show and it was enjoyable to take part in an activity with the neighbourhood French families that packed the small theatre.
Emma outside the Théâtre de Luxembourg
Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood)
Guignol – the popular French character
The weather was not much better than it had been on the first day that we walked in the gardens, however, there had been a marked change in appearance as there were many flowers planted and the pond had been filled with water much to the delight of several ducks. It was easy to imagine just how beautiful Luxembourg Gardens would be in a few short weeks when everything had greened up. It would be lovely to visit during the summer season in order to take full advantage of all the activities which would be available.
Enjoying the flowers at Luxembourg Gardens
As beautiful as it is, Luxembourg Gardens has the feel of a neighbourhood park and I expect if I was living in the Latin Quarter or St. Germain-des-Près that I would spend far too much time sitting with a book and thoroughly enjoying life on the Left Bank.
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What You Need To Know
- The Luxembourg Gardens are located in the 6th arrondissement near Sorbonne University.
- The gardens are open from 7am til dusk from April through October and 8am until dusk from November through March.
- Théâtre du Luxembourg has 40 minute long performances on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays. The theatre is covered and heated. It is recommended that guests arrive 30 minutes prior to the performance. The fee is 4.70 Euros per person.
- The fenced-in children’s playground located next to the theatre has an entrance fee.
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Le Prince Régent Résidence & Spa
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Emma’s having a blast!
I agree with you — the Medici Fountain is very impressive.
Mary@The World Is A Book
Beautiful pictures. We loved Luxembourg Gardens too. It would be great to see this place in the summer. We missed the puppet theater though. Loving all of Emma’s poses =)
Beautiful, I love the statues as well. It looks like Emma is thoroughly enjoying herself.
Sabrina - Country Skipper
The Jardin du Luxembourg is one of my favorite parks in Paris. I used to go there and hang out on one of the chairs they provide and relax a little when I spent a few months in Paris a while back. Love your pics!
Someone’s really having a great time, it seems. Hope you enjoyed your stay in Paris.
I too love walking the Luxembourg Gardens but I don’t think I ever paid nearly the same attention you did to all the statues; but now with a camera in hand I’m a lot more tuned in. Great info and what a wonderful treat for your daughter.
Nifty! Despite spending five days in Paris, this is one place in the city that I never made it to.
Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com
It’s the end of my solo backpacking trip to Europe so I deeply regret not taking time to go to Luxembourg! That place looks soooo nice! Emma’s cute too!
@Inside Journeys – The Medici Fountain is stunning! I read that it was actually moved from a different part of the gardens to its present location – can’t imagine how they managed to do that.
Thanks, Jessica! Emma loved the puppet show – they are very popular with Parisian kids and play to a packed house.
Thanks, Mary! The gardens are beautiful even in the winter when the trees are barren and the skies are grey but I would so love to see them in the summer when everything is green and blooming and the park is full of kids laughing and sailing boats on the Grand Bassin.
Thanks, Laurel! Emma did enjoy her time in the park and could have easily spent the day wandering and having me take a photo of each and every statue! 🙂
Thanks, Sabrina – I am very jealous that you lived in Paris! I think if I lived there that I would spend all of my time sitting in one of the beautiful parks and marvelling at the fact that I was living in Paris! 🙂
@Easy Hiker – Emma was definitely having a good time – she tends to have a good time wherever we go. 🙂 Both of my daughters enjoyed our stay in Paris. My older daughter, however, is in none of the Luxembourg Gardens pictures as she wouldn’t let me take her picture on our first visit and opted to stay at the hotel when we went for the puppet show at the end of our stay. She took photos with her camera but I have known of her to prove that she was actually there.
@Leigh – I don’t think that I would have paid as much attention to the statues were it not for Emma demanding that I take a picture of each one that she liked! They really are quite beautiful once you stop to appreciate them though.
@Dick – Our first trip to Paris was only three days and we didn’t make it to any of the gardens so I made it a priority this time. We were in the city for 9 days so it was much easier to see everything that we wanted to. Hopefully you will return to Paris soon and have time to sit and relax around the Grand Bassin!
Thanks for stopping by Aleah – hopefully you will also have an opportunity to spend more time in Paris!
I haven’t seen any pictures to prove that you or your husband were there either. Are you sure it wasn’t just Emma on a solo modeling assignment (and I can SO see that as a future career for her).
Emma does like to pose but I swear that I was the photographer! And there are a few pictures of me, I think!
Cute, cute, cute pics of Emma. So cool that she enjoys traveling so much. Can you believe I’ve only been around Jardin du Luxembourg, not inside? For shame!
The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)
This place looks awesome! Awww, and she’s so photogenic! Adoreable.
The next time that I’m in Paris I am definitely going to make a visit inside the Palace a priority.
how sweet 🙂
fun photos especially the model in so many of them 🙂
I used to be in Paris for work a lot and often went to Jardin du Luxembourg to sit and read or just relax during long lunches. Such a peaceful spot.
Thanks, Eileen – I’m going to be very sad when she doesn’t want to pose for me anymore!
I can’t think of a better place to spend an hour with lunch and a good book!
I love Luxembourg Garden! I used to spend hours walking and sunbathing in this park when I lived in Paris. To be honest I do not remember all the statues you took a picture of… I didn’t pay so many attention!
We loved Luxembourg Gardens – it’s the perfect place for adults and kids. We missed the puppet show, but spent many hours in the play ground.
What a beautiful place!
Love the pictures. I just read a book about Paris and it’s nice to see the actual place
Becca@R We There Yet Mom?
Gorgeous – I love Emma’s sweet smile in all of them. I can feel the history through your photos.
Thanks for linking up! Have a super weekend!
Thanks for stopping by, Francy! I would love to be able to go back to Luxembourg Gardens to sit in the sun!
And we missed the playground! We didn’t see it on our first walk and on the second it was a bit drizzly and Emma wasn’t interested.
I love reading books set in Paris – it’s such a romantic place!
Thanks, Becca – I’ll pass the compliment on to Emma!
This looks like a lovely place to spend a day. I’m always amazed at Paris and France–there never seems to be a shortage of incredible sights. Your daughter seems to have enjoyed it, too! So cute.
Thanks for stopping by, Jackie! Nice to meet you via Photo Friday at Delicious Baby!!
Thanks, Jenna, it is quite lovely! I think I could spend a very long time in France and never see everything that I want to see.
Very unique destination in Paris that we don’t hear much about! Super write-up!
Beautiful pictures. I love Luxembourg Gardens, and it looks like Emma does too.
I tried to comment three times–let’s see if it works this time! I didn’t know about this place, but it looks like the perfect place to spend a day with or without kids. Paris is so amazing–there’s so much to see there!
Thanks, Monique! Emma loved everything about Paris – she was quite sad to leave!
Paris was lovely – and much more child-friendly than most people would think.
Sorry about the comments. I’m not sure what’s wrong. A couple of days ago I figured out how to change my settings so that I could reply directly below a person’s comment and ever since then it has been acting up.
love your blog! keep up the good work!
Thanks, Christi!! 🙂