Jardin du Luxembourg – a must-see garden in Paris
If you’re visiting Paris in the spring time and you love gardens, the Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Garden in English) is a must-see sight. If you have time during your visit to Paris, you could easily spend all day here, but if not, you should at least include a stroll through the gardens on a sightseeing walk through the heart of the Left Bank of the Seine.
My sightseeing route takes you from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower via the Jardin du Luxembourg, Montparnassse and the Champ de Mars, and spring time is an ideal time to visit when the flowers are in bloom, the weather is warming up and the sites are less crowded than in the summer.
Read on to learn why you should visit the Jardin du Luxembourg and continue your walk to the Eiffel Tower.
Where is the Jardin du Luxembourg?
Located in the heart of the Left Bank of the Seine, between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, France, this 60-acre (25-hectare) park with formally laid-out gardens dates back to the 17th century.
Inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens) is one of the most beautiful parks in Paris.
Visited by Parisians daily, it’s an ideal place to sit for a while to read a book, have lunch or people-watch, or to enjoy a morning or evening walk around the gardens.
What will you find in the Jardin du Luxembourg?
Open all year round, from dawn to dusk, you can visit the park for free and stroll around its magnificent manicured gardens, which are divided in two with French gardens and English gardens separated by a large pond and a geometric forest.
Other sights to see are orchards with ancient apple varieties, an apiary, a rose garden and greenhouses with collections of beautiful orchids.
The park is also home to 106 statues, ornate ponds and elaborate fountains. You’ll also find food kiosks, open-air cafés and tennis courts, a marionette theatre and playgrounds.
From Royal Family residence to home of the French Senate
Adjoining the Jardin du Luxembourg, at the northern end, is the Palais Luxembourg (Luxembourg Palace). Originally built in 1625 for the regent Marie de’ Medici, mother of King Louis XIII, it was a Royal Family residence until the French Revolution, when it was turned into a prison. It became home to the French senate in 1804 when Napoléon Bonaparte ordered its transformation. During World War II it was occupied until it was liberated in 1944 and has been the seat of the Senate we know it today since 1958.
The Palais Luxembourg is open for free tours the third week of September during the European Heritage Days. Approved group tours may also be available on Mondays and Fridays provided the Senate is not in session.
Sightseeing walk from Notre Dame to Eiffel Tower via Jardin du Luxembourg
The Jardin du Luxembourg is less than 20 minutes’ walk from Notre Dame and under 10 minutes from the Panthéon (which you can detour to visit first).
If you’re feeling energetic and have time after your visit to the Jardin du Luxembourg, a 5 km walk from the park to the Eiffel Tower via Montparnasse will take you past many Parisian landmarks en route, including Montparnasse Tower, ESCP Business School Paris Campus (where history meets innovation), the Esplanade Jacques Chaban-Delmas, the UNESCO headquarters and the Ecole Militaire.
Spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower along the Champ du Mars
The final kilometre of the route, between the Ecole Militaire in the southeast and the Eiffel Tower in the northwest, will take you through the beautiful public gardens of Champ Du Mar, one of the largest green spaces in Paris. Along this final stretch, you’ll have a magnificent view of the city’s most iconic landmark all the way.
When you reach the Eiffel Tower, a ride to the summit (905 feet above) up a glass-walled elevator will reward you with amazing panoramic views of the city and its iconic landmarks such as Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur and of course, the Champ de Mars that you just walked through.
Champ de Mars from the Eiffel Tower at night
The tower is open every day except July 14 (Bastille Day – the national day of France). The current opening times are 9:30 am to 11:45 pm, with the last elevator ride starting an hour before closing, although this varies depending on the time of the year. If you have good knees, you can also climb the stairs. Either way, a great time to reach the summit is just before twilight, when you’ll be rewarded with an equally spectacular panoramic view of the city of lights.
Opening and closing times also vary, so it is best to check the opening times before you set out for the day. The Eiffel Tower is not included in the Paris Museum Pass. Tickets can be purchased up to two months in advance.
After your visit, you can walk back along the bank of the Seine or take the Metro back to your hotel.
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