10 Things to Do in Luxembourg Gardens in Paris
*Originally written by Mattheiu in August 2017; updated by Arielle in November 2019 and updated by Farah in February 2022.
The Luxembourg Gardens are located in the heart of Paris’ Left Bank, acting a little bit as “Paris’s lungs”. Boasting 55 acres of green space between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, it’s a site not to be missed.
The Jardin du Luxembourg dates all the way back to the XVIIth century when Marie de’ Medici constructed the gardens as an attachment the Luxembourg Palace, where she resided. The palace is now occupied by the French Senate and the gardens were eventually opened to the public! Medici was inspired by her native city of Florence when she designed the gardens. This was the first French garden to be influenced by the Italian Baroque era. With all of the beauty and sights to see, The Luxembourg Gardens could even be considered an open-air museum!
The palace is today the home of the Senate, but the garden is open to the public. If you’re coming to Paris and have the intention to visit the Left Bank of Paris (more info on our Left Bank walking tour), the Luxembourg gardens are most definitely a must! So, today I’m telling you about what to do in Luxembourg gardens!
1. Take a Simple Walk
The Luxembourg gardens are so enchanting! So, the one thing you obviously have to do in the Luxembourg gardens is to stroll inside the gardens and admire their beauty! The centre of the park, in front of the Luxembourg palace, can be described as a “French style” garden, with its geometric lines and shapes with flowers, grass and a pond!
The Luxembourg palace overlooks this part of the garden, and thus adds an element to the beautiful setting! The rest of the park is actually my favourite! It is more similar to the “English style“, with trees and winding paths. Throughout the garden, you will find more than 100 statues, as well as fountains, like the Médicis fountain, a pavillon, the Pavillon Davioud, and even bee hives! The Médicis fountain is quite popular with many people taking photos, so try to visit in the morning!
The gardens also include greenhouses for plant conservation and an orangery but those are not open to the public, except during Heritage Day (‘Journée du Patrimoine’), which happens once a year. This event usually happens in September. There are chairs and deck chairs in the garden, so you can sit down and have a break at any time!
Or you can try to scope out the garden’s 106 sculptures of all different shapes and sizes. Among the statues are queens of France or other notable French woman looking down at you with deep marble stares. There are statues honoring musicians and writers such as Chopin and Beethoven. You’ll even find a statue of the woman who created the gardens, Marie de’ Medici herself! You will also find a replica of Lady Liberty. The mini Statue of Liberty is located on the northeast corner of the park near the Rue Guynemer entrance.
2. Enjoy many children-oriented activities for families with kids
The Parisians enjoy going there after a hard day of work, or to take their children after school, to play in one of the children’s playgrounds! There are numerous activities dedicated to children, such as puppet shows, slides, carousels, pony rides! It is usually one of the first gardens that comes to mind when people ask me where should they take their children to in Paris!
A favorite children’s activity is to rent sailboats for children to sail around the central fountain. They do sell out quickly, so make sure you go early to grab one. They cost 5 euros to rent for 30 minutes of sailing.
Another very popular thing is to use your remote boat on the pond. Parisians will most often go to the Luxembourg gardens with their children after school, at around 4 pm, or on weekends and Wednesdays, when kids do not have class! You will see plenty of children in the gardens! Nonetheless, if you want to avoid crowds and rather spend a quiet time, don’t go there during this time and days, but the garden will definitely be less lively and some attractions like pony rides may be closed!
3. Sit and relax
One of the best parts about visiting gardens in France is the serenity of your surroundings. The Luxembourg gardens offer a tranquil escape from Paris’s urban landscape. I recommend sitting in one of Paris’s iconic green park chairs, pulling out your favorite book, putting on your headphones to a Parisian playlist, and unwinding after a long day. The parks are not only a great place to relax, but also to people watch too! Thousands of people walk through the Luxembourg park gates each day, tourists and locals alike!
Unlike the other parks in Paris like Tuileries and Monceau, be aware that most of the lawns in the park are off limits for walking and sunbathing except for a piece of the southern lawn, which is packed on most sunny spring and summer days. Go early for a good spot!
4. Go on a Sculpture Hunt
The gardens have hundreds of statues and monuments scattered around. Take a leisurely stroll with a notebook because you never know whose statue you might come across. For instance, Marie de’ Medici’s statue or the statue of liberty (in the photo above) is located in the gardens! In fact, there are around 5 statues in Paris in various locations, some even in some museums. There’s also statues of the well known European writers and artists and statues of Roman and Greek mythology such Narcissus and Theseus and the Minotaur. Some statues are beautifully landscaped with seasonal plants and flowers and well worth the hunt!
5. Head to the Luxembourg Museum
The Luxembourg Museum is located inside a part of the Luxembourg palace. Today, it features temporary exhibitions, most often dedicated to paintings. The entrance is a little expensive. It costs around 10 euros. But, believe me, it is worth it! You will usually get a nice overview of either a specific theme, a specific historical figure, or of one artist’s works of art. It’s open from 11 am to 7 pm. You just need to check what exhibition will be happening during your visit to Paris!
6. Visit the Apiary near Pavillon Davioud
A small apiary near an ornate building called the Pavillon Davioud is one of the secret places of the Luxembourg gardens that not many tourists know about. This pavillon is home to a school of horticulture and the location of an annual honey festival called Fete du Miel, held in September where you can taste and purchase honey!
The building itself is classified as an historical monument in Paris and holds shows and exhibitions too. Beekeepers and would-be keepers also train at this location at the Ecole Rucher (Bee school).
7. Enjoy the Greenhouses
There’s another surprise here in the gardens where you can enjoy a few hours of nature. The greenhouses of the Luxembourg gardens are maintained by the French senate, just like the rest of the gardens.
Among all hundreds of plants on display in the greenhouses, the orchid collection stands out. The garden has over 13,000 orchid plants are grown on site! There’s even an orchard of pears and apples located in the southwest corner. On European heritage days (special days where Parisians are given access to special sights not usually open) you can find events and exhibitions in these greenhouses. For instance, the fruits from the orchard of the garden are on display such as local varieties of pears and apples. Enjoy the Plants and flowers, insects and bugs found here – truly a countryside experience in the middle of Paris!
8. Go on a Date
The Jardin du Luxembourg offers a very romantic atmosphere and is the perfect spot for a date.
Bring a glass of wine and lay in the grass or stroll around the lakes and you’ll be sure to feel the magic. It might even be the perfect place for your first kiss in Paris!
9. Play Pétanque!
The garden even has a Pétanque (a french outdoor game originating from Provence) court where families come and play on casual evenings and weekends.
If you get hungry after a long day of park activities, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in the surrounding area. One of my favorites is Treize Bakery Paris at 5 Rue de Médicis.
10. These gardens are for everybody and Parisians love it!
The Luxembourg gardens are for everybody! There’s plenty of stuff for people to enjoy from all ages and all interests! There are tennis courts in the garden. Often, one can also come across open air concerts. Older Parisians also enjoy going to the Luxembourg gardens to play bridge or chess, along with a good glass of wine! If you are looking for a very French experience, come to the Luxembourg gardens to have a picnic. The Parisians often do this kind of stuff (Look at our top 5 places for a picnic)! During the week they will only take a quick sandwich during their lunch break, whereas on a sunny weekend they might spend their whole afternoon there! Parisians love to relax and get together in parks and gardens. So, if you want to meet locals, spend some time in the Luxembourg gardens!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article about what to do in Luxembourg gardens in Paris! Parisians love to spend some time in this garden because it is so charming and peaceful!
Plus, it is located in one very interesting Paris neighborhood: the Latin Quarter! If you get to visit the Latin Quarter you absolutely need to see the Luxembourg gardens!
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more details or further information! You can book a free tip-only walking tour with us in the Latin Quarter to learn more about this area. The best way to visit Paris is through the eyes of the locals! See you soon!