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Jardin du Luxembourg
The Luxembourg Gardens offer a peaceful respite from sightseeing. If you have children, the playground and pony rides are hard to resist.
The (in English, ) is one of the most popular parks among visitors to Paris, and with good reason:
In addition to hosting beautiful Italian Baroque-style gardens that date back to the 17th Century, the Jardin du Luxembourg incorporates the, which houses the French Senate.
Park facilities include a playground, pony rides, a puppet theatre, a pond with model boats for rent, tennis courts, fountains, sculptures, a café-restaurant, snack bars, chessboards, boules or pétanque courts, a music pavilion, an orangery, and the Musée du Luxembourg.
Admission to the Jardin du Luxembourg is free, although you'll pay extra for activities such as the children's playground, pony rides, model-boat rental, and tennis.
Hours of operation vary by season, with opening times ranging from 7:30 .am. (March-September) to 8:15 a.m. (mid-December through mid-January).
Closing times can be anywhere from 4:30 p.m. in the dead of winter to 9:30 p.m. in late June.
BELOW: This map, which is displayed on a signpost in the park, shows the Jardin du Luxembourg's location on the Left Bank. (The Seine is at the bottom of the map, which means south is at the top.)
BELOW: The Palais du Luxembourg is a classical French building from the 17th Century. The palace is located at the north end of the gardens, and it's the home of the French Senate.
BELOW: Armed guards protect senators and their building.
BELOW: Tree-lined paths offer shade on hot, sunny days.
BELOW: The trees also provide a venue for Tai Chi classes. (Note the freestanding chairs, which visitors can move around instead of having to share fixed park benches.)
BELOW: Park patrons who prefer sunshine can sit on designated lawns or bare their tummies for pregnancy photos.
BELOW: The Jardin du Luxembourg has its own beehives.
BELOW: One of our favorite areas is the pond where visitors can rent model sailboats.
BELOW: Looking for an inexpensive souvenir? Buy a poster that shows the park's model sailboats in their many national liveries. It's available at the sailboat-rental kiosk.
BELOW: This boy preferred his own pirate ship to a rental sailboat.
BELOW: After you've seen the pond, look for the Medici Fountain (built in 1630), which is tucked among trees near the northeastern corner of the park.
BELOW: Ponies--and pony rides--are popular with local children and visitors.
BELOW: Dogs are welcome in the Jardin du Luxembourg, but only in specified areas on the east side of the park. Look for a path near the Boulevard Saint-Michel (which is also used by joggers) and a canine water fountain.
BELOW: The Jardin du Luxembourg has an excellent playground. There's an admission fee for children (with a smaller fee for parents who watch their kids from inside the fence).
BELOW: We were especially impressed by this "glide ride" in the Luxembourg Gardens, which is well worth the price of playground admission. Kids grab a rope, stand or kneel on a small platform, and let gravity whip them around the apparatus.
BELOW: For adults, the park's diversions include tennis (but visit the toilettes before you hit the courts).
BELOW: If you prefer visual arts to athletics, you can catalog the 70+ sculptures in the Luxembourg Gardens. (The Greek actor in this statue is staring at a scroll, not a smartphone.)
BELOW: Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty, donated a model of his sculpture to the Musée du Luxembourg in 1906. This bronze replica replaced the original model in 2012 for "reasons of conservation."
BELOW: When you've had your fill of art, you can fill up on food and drink (including Berthillon ice cream) at several snack bars and kiosks in the Luxembourg Gardens.
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