Jardin du Luxembourg
The second largest park in Paris has a long history. Marie de Médici, widow of Henry IV and mother of Louis XIII, wanted to build a palace similar to the Pitti Palace in her native Florence. The resulting Luxembourg Palace (constructed in the 1610s) is today the home of the French Senate, though it has undergone substantial renovations since. The garden surrounding the palace was initially a modest twenty acres. It was expanded in 1630, but largely ignored after the death of Marie de Médici. Part was sold off, and the now famous Medici Fountain fell into ruins.
During the French Revolution and under Napoleon, the garden was once again expanded and the fountain restored. During the 19th century, the park was filled with statues. Today there are more than 100. There are French historical figures, queens, even a model of the Statue of Liberty. The restored Médici fountain, modeled after a grotto, is a popular spot for people to sit and take in the gardens.
If the weather’s nice, grab a baguette and some cheese and head to the Luxembourg Garden for a relaxing picnic. It’s a quintessential Parisian experience. This is a great place to unwind and soak up some culture, especially if your wallet is starting to feel pinched.
Metro: Luxembourg (RER B)
Admission: No admission.