The Luxembourg Gardens, run by the French Senate (which is housed nearby in the Luxembourg Palace), is the second-largest park in Paris, and is located in the 6th arrondissement (left bank, near the Sorbonne). The Palace and Gardens were commissioned by Marie de’ Medici (widow of Henry IV) in 1612, who wanted a home and park like those she’d known when she was growing up in Italy. There have been many changes since the park’s beginning, including a reconstruction in the 19th century, the siege of 1870, and WWII. The park was named after Duke Francois du Luxembourg, who originally owned the land before Marie de’ Medici.In the Gardens, you can experience wide open spaces and gardens, see over 100 statues (including those by Dalou, Bourdelle, and Rodin), sit by the historic Medici Fountain, ride horses, play in a fenced playground for little kids, eat, visit the Orangery, play tennis, listen to music, ride a historic carousel, view the puppet theatre, or float boats in the Grand Bassin.
- Watch this video about life at the Luxembourg Gardens. Discuss how large cities creatively use open space and gardens to alleviate urban congestion and give people a place to be outside.
- Walk around the Gardens, with this 360 interactive map. What are your favorite parts?
- One of the most unusual things to do in the Luxembourg Gardens is to visit the Puppet Theatre.Watch the video to see behind the scenes. What are some of the more unusual attractions you’ve seen in public gardens? Discuss how to make public spaces friendly for families (as the Luxembourg Gardens certainly is).
- One of the most traditional (and delicious) things to do in Luxembourg Gardens is to get a crepe (filled with any sorts of yummies). Take a look at this video of the making of a caramel filled crepe. What is your favorite street food? How is street food different, all around the world? What cultural factors do you think influence street food?