Tag Archives: gardens

The Luxembourg Gardens: The Favorite Outdoor Living Space of Parisians

Originally part of the palace that was buiLuxembourg Gardenslt for Marie de Medici in the early 1600’s, the Luxembourg Gardens are, today, the outdoor living room and playground for Parisians and their families.  The 25 hectare (62 acre) gardens features many activities for the entire family.   One of my favorite parts was a huge basin of water surrounded by gorgeous flower beds and statues of the queens of France, saints, and copies of Classical sculptures.  Children can rent miniature remote-controlled boats that they then sail across the basin. I really wanted to try them out, but it seemed more like an activity for the Luxembourg Gardenslittle ones.  Oh well!   For the nature and flower lover, there are both English and French style gardens and a geometric forest in between the two.  The greenhouse, which is surrounded by

Luxembourg Gardens

Parisians playing lawn bowling in the gardens.

a rose garden, contains a collection of orchids, and the apiary allows people to learn about beekeeping. Families flock over to the southwest corner of the gardens where an orchard of fruit trees is the setting for a marionette theater.  Children will also love the vintage carousel, playground, slides, and pony rides. The gardens also contain areas to play tennis, lawn bowling, chess, and bridge. After all the activities, take a break at the gazebo where free concerts are held or enjoy a glass of wine and a snack in the small cafe with plentiful outdoor seating.  You can also take a stroll through the orangerie of the former palace which showcases art, photographs, and sculptures. There really is something for everyone at the Luxembourg Gardens, and as we walked around, we got a sense that Parisians love them as much as we did.



Luxembourg Gardens

Even on a cloudy day, the gardens are a delight!

Even if you’re not a fan of history or architecture, you can’t help be impressed by the incredible Luxembourg Palace that dominates the gardens.  Since 1958, the palace has been the home of the French Senate.  However, the Luxembourg Palace was originally built, beginning inLuxembourg Gardens 1615, to be a residence for Marie de Medici, dowager queen and mother of King Louis XIII.  Marie was from Florence and had the architect design her new home based on the style of the Pitti Palace, in her home city. During the French Revolution, the palace had a short life as a museum, and with the rise of Napoleon, the French Senate began to meet in the building for the first time in 1804.  At this time, the interiors were redesigned so, unfortunately, nothing inside remains of Marie de Medici’s layout or furnishings. During the Second World War, the Luxembourg Palace was occupied by a commander of the Luftwaffe, the Nazi Air Force.  After the war, the Paris Peace Conference was held in the building, and upon the declaration of the Fifth French Republic in 1958, the French Senate began meeting there again.  Today, visitors can tour the Luxembourg Palace on Mondays and Fridays when the Senate is not in session.


One of my favorite locations in the Luxembourg Gardens is the gorgeous Medici Fountain.  The fountain was built around 1630 for Marie de Medici, dowager queen and mother to King Louis XIII, as part of the gardens surrounding the Luxembourg GardensLuxembourg Palace.  After the fountain fell into disrepair, it was moved 30 meters, in the 1860’s, to its current location to make room for a street. Since the fountain no longer stood against a wall, the Leda Fountain, Luxembourg Gardensa different architectural features which was in danger of being demolished, was moved from another location in Paris and placed behind the Medici Fountain.  The Medici Fountain also underwent other remodeling at the time. The original statues of nymphs were replaced by two sculptures representing the Rhône and Seine Rivers. Statues of a faun and a huntress were also added, and a sculpture of Venus was removed. Two replica Greek masks were included to symbolize tragedy and comedy.  The relief of the original Medici coat of arms was restored, and the water basin was changed from a simple one with a single fountain to a long one which is now surrounded by beautiful flowers and shaded by trees. The restored Medici Fountain is a lovely place to sit and rest after walking through the extensive Luxembourg Gardens.  It would also be a romantic setting for a Parisian date. The fountain is one of many treasures that we found through the marvelous gardens.


The Luxembourg Gardens

The Luxembourg Gardens are located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.  The gardens have many metro stops aroudn them.  On the north side of the gardens, the closest stops are Odeon and Saint-Sulpice.  Click on the map below to get specific directions.



Richmond Virginia Has Gardens Galore: Seeing the City’s Tudor, Japanese & Botanical Gardens

You may be in Richmond, Virginia for business, pleasure, or to see some Civil War sites. Whatever the case, you deserve an escape form the hustle and bustle of everyday life with a trip to see some beautiful gardens! Here are my top three gorgeous gardens of Richmond.

#3 Botantical Bliss

Readers of U.S.A. Today, voted the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens as the fourth best gardens in the United States. That’s pretty impressive! Located on the north side of the city, the gardens feature not only over 50 acres of plentiful plants but also the only classical domed conservatory in the mid-Atlantic states. I spent a lovely, yet overcast, evening in the gardens (in Orchids at the Ginter Botanical Gardens Richmond Virginia the summer, they’re open until 9pm on Thursdays) and particularly enjoyed the fountain garden, floating island, orchid collection, and the butterfly house. The Ginger Botanical Gardens also hosts many special events. I was there during a Cuban musical festival in the international village that featured a live band and tasty food. Check out their website for special events, a map of the many gardens, and their opening times.


#2 Terrific Tudor Treasure

Agecroft Hall Gardens Richmond Virginia Want to walk through an authentic English Tudor garden without jetting across the pond? Head on over to the Windsor Farms neighborhood of Richmond to find Agecroft Hall, a manor house that was constructed in 16th century England, disassembled, and then rebuilt right in Richmond! The fascinating tour of the mansion and the relaxing walk in the gardens transported me back to another time. My favorite was the sunken Agecroft Hall Gardens Richmond Virginia garden that was beautifully framed by the Tudor architecture of the main house.  The Elizabethan knot garden made me feel like I might stumble across the Virgin Queen herself, and the Tudor herb garden, with a living exhibit of medicinal, flavorful, and aromatic plants, was both an education and a delight for the senses.


#1 Zen Zone

Japanese garden at Maymont in Richmond Virginia The best hidden gem in the city of Richmond is located in a large public park and former estate. While the Victorian Maymont mansion is an incredible visit in itself, the Japanese garden is the real treat here! From the mansion, follow the signs through the Italianate gardens, and you’ll descend an incredible staircase, that winds down a fountain, to find Japanese garden at Maymont in Richmond Virginia yourself in a garden reminiscent of the Far East, complete with a huge waterfall and extensive koi pond. In the early 20th century, a master Japanese gardener named Muto was hired to design this spectacular garden, and it shows! Wander through the traditional gates, over the arched bridges, and pose for a photo on the stepping stones that cross the pond, just like I did! Pause for a moment in the Japanese gazebos, one by the waterfall and the other situated tranquilly pondside, and reflect on the beauty of this Zen oasis. It’s a setting that you won’t soon forget.



The Lewis Ginter Botantical Gardens are located at 1800 Lakeside Ave in Henrico, VA, which is right next to Richmond.  Click on the map for directions.

Agecroft Hall and Gardens is located at 4305 Sulgrave Rd in Richmond, VA. The gardens are included in the price of admission.  Click on the map for directions.

The Japanese Gardens at the Maymont Mansion and Estate are located in a public park at 1700 Hampton St in Richmond, VA. I’ve marked the parking lot on the may above, and the address will taken you right to the lot. Follow the well-marked signs for the Japanese gardens. The gardens are free to explore, but there is a nominal fee for a tour of the mansion. It’s well worth the price!  Click on the map for directions.


What to do in Richmond