Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Exploring the Luxembourg Gardens

Another favorite spot in Paris is the Luxembourg Gardens, named after the famed palace they surround. While the history of the palace may be rather gruesome today the gardens are anything but as they act as the backyard to many Parisians.
The Palace has held the French Parliament since the early 19th century. Completed in 1645 by architect Salomon de Brosse for the mother of Louis XIII, the regent Marie de' Medici, later in the mid 18th century becoming an art museum.  Name it and this palace has hosted the use: private home, art museum, prison, parliament - talk about adaptive reuse!
One of the most famous things in the garden is the Medici Fountain, built elsewhere on the grounds in 1630 but moved closer to the palace in the 1860s when roads were routed through the gardens. It's a popular shady spot on a hot day.
 My favorite view in the gardens may be this statue of Narcissus with the Pantheon over his shoulder.
Nothing is better in nice weather to join all of Paris in a relaxing day spent with a book and/or friends in the sun. All of the lawn furniture is painted a particularly attractive shade of green (to which I must find a match!) and softdrinks, icecream, and wine (naturally) are sold by small kiosks. One can even rent toy boats to race in the round reflecting pool!
Given the signs however I suppose the gardens aren't always as relaxing  (Even the danger signs are beautiful).
While the back facade facing the gardens is the most well known the front face aligning with the Rue de Tournon is really an architectural tour de force.  Also check out the great shopping in the few blocks north of the palace along the Rue de Tournon leading up to the Boulevard St Germain -all of the shops you want to visit inside gorgeous historic hotel particuleurs to ogle including  Astair de Villatte, Bonpoint, Cire Trudon, and most surprisingly the French office and chic shop of David Hicks!