Nestled in the heart of Paris’ bustling left bank, the Luxembourg Palace, also known as the Palais du Luxembourg, stands as a serene testament to the city’s rich history and an often-overlooked haven for both locals and travellers like me.
Located just a ten minute wander South from the famous Café de Flore, or 20 minutes from Notre Dame the Palace itself is not open to the public but the surrounding 23-hectare park that offers an idyllic place to while away a sunny afternoon. It was a new discovery for me when I took a long weekend in Paris last Spring.
The Palace of Luxembourg
Less imposing in size and more compact compared to the significantly older Louvre Palace, the Luxembourg Palace, constructed in the early 17th century, boasts a rich and diverse historical legacy.
Named after the Duke of Luxembourg, François-Henri of Montmorency , it served as a royal residence for Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France. Her son Louis XIII lived here during his reign as the King of France. Louis XIV: The “Sun King,” Louis XIV, spent part of his early childhood at the Luxembourg Palace when his mother, Anne of Austria, temporarily lived there after the death of her husband, Louis XIII.
It served various roles during the French Revolution and was the Luftwaffe HQ during the German Occupation in WWII.
Today, it houses the French Senate, making it the seat of political power in the country.
The Luxembourg Garden
The “Le Jardin du Luxembourg” as it is know by Parisians, offer a tranquil escape from the city’s urban pulse that is more removed and less touristy than the grand Tuileries gardens by the river.
The gardens size means there are plenty of spots to park yourself for an afternoon picnic, a stroll or maybe a cheeky snooze under the trees.
The photogenic garden includes many statues, shrubs and manicured lawns that surround and showcase the gorgeous yellow coloured palace. In front of the main palace stands a large ornate boating lake. Kids can rent small sailing boats for an hour and watch as they coast around the water. Long poles are on hand in case their boats run out of puff!
I loved my time in ‘les jardins’. It definitely felt quieter and greener than the vast Jardin des Tuileries gardens with less crepe stalls or souvenir stands. If you have time on the left bank, then do pop in to see the palace and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the gardens.
How to get the Luxembourg Palace
It is an easy walk up from the left bank taking about 10 to 15 minutes. If you are coming from further afield the nearest Metro stops are Luxembourg on the RER B Line, Odeon and Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Saint Placide to the East or Mabillion and Odéon back North towards the river. You can get more details on the Luxembourg Palace from the Paris Tourism office.
There is no cost to enter the gardens so do pop in when you’re nearby.