Thursday, March 7, 2013

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris

Is there anything lamer than going to a garden in freezing-cold February? That didn't stop us as we visited the Luxembourg gardens for a quick peek.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Even though it was cold and nothing was blooming, the area still had tons of people walking around enjoying the sunshine if not the warmth. The gardens have plenty of open spaces to play and of statues from the 19th century to look at. We admired Saint Genevieve, the patron of Paris, who was immortalized by Michel-Lousi Victor in 1845. Genevieve came from a wealthy landowning family in the 400s. When the Huns invaded in 451, she and some women friends prayed that the city would be spared. And it was!

St. Genevieve

The other significant item in the gardens is the Palais du Luxembourg. The French Senate uses it now, but it was built for Marie de Medici (widow of King Henri IV) to remind her of Florence where she was born. It wasn't completed until 1631 when she had already been banished from Paris. It was still used as a royal palace up to the Revolution, when it served as a prison. In World War II, the Luftwaffe used it as their headquarters in Paris, with air-raid shelters hidden under the gardens. We didn't go in (it also has a small museum) but at least admired the exterior.

Palais du Luxembourg

We hope to go back in warmer weather and enjoy the many parks of Paris in a more proper way.

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