Last spring, when we visited Paris, we made sure to visit most of the major sights — the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées, Notre Dame. And although there were still a few we wanted to see (or see again) this time, already having seen many of the major tourist attractions gave us a sense of freedom on our most recent visit. We felt like we could wander more, and go further a field in terms of exploring Paris.
One place we’d wanted to go last time, but which didn’t quite make the cut in terms of the time we had, was the Jardin du Luxembourg. As we were planning this trip, we found out that a friend was going to be visiting Paris with her daughter at the same time as we were, so we planned to meet up, and it seemed like the Jardin du Luxembourg might be a good place.
I didn’t know much about it except that Rick Steves recommended it for people visiting Paris with kids — I was picturing a big park, with some fun things for the kids. And, it was certainly that, but it exceeded my expectations.
It’s a huge park. Much of it has trees and lots of shade. There were also grassy areas (without any of the “keep off the grass” signs that we’re used to in Vienna) with Parisian families relaxing with their little kids. There was a palace (which apparently houses the French Senate) and a museum on the grounds. It was really beautiful.
We met up with our friends, and the kids took turns choosing from the fun activities — they rode the carousel, went on pony rides, rode kid-powered cars and played in the extensive playground before we took a break for lunch. And then we went to sit by the pond behind the palace and watch dozens of you sailboats float around, chased by kids of all ages. It was an excellent place to spend an afternoon. It was beautiful and fun and the boys just loved it.
After our late night flight on Friday, followed by an only moderately successful day of sightseeing Saturday, our day at Jardin du Luxembourg was a real treat, and a great way to let the kids get to make the plans for the day. All they had to do was play and enjoy and just be kids. It was a great day in Paris, and a wonderful part of our trip.