Where better than the Jardin du Luxembourg on a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon? For us it was the most perfect way to escape the city without actually having to leave.
This is one of Paris’ most popular parks, forming a southern boundary to St Germain and the Latin Quarter. The Sorbonne University is nearby, what a fabulous place to come and relax after lectures. It is also a popular haunt of chic Montparnasse residents and their offspring who make use of the many children’s attractions. This was the sight that met us when we arrived.
Sunbathers as far as the eye could see – far from the peaceful retreat I had envisioned. We did find other areas much less crowded than this however, so don’t let it put you off! It wasn’t all about soaking up the sun – we found numerous boules games in progress, joggers running along the shady paths and Parisian families spending time together in the great outdoors.
Son loved the park – children are certainly well catered for. A massive playground, fenced in and very safe made his day. They charged a small entrance fee per child and accompanying adult but you could come and go all day. Son did not hold much with this idea and wasted no time coming and going, staying put was his thing. We dragged him out after 2 hours.
The gorgeous old-fashioned carousel ride was also a hit. Son mounted his trusty steed, armed himself with a stick and attempted to catch metal hoops on the way round. A simple but brilliant idea.
Other things that made Son’s eyes light up were a puppet show, pony rides and the mini sailboats you could hire and sail on the lake.
There are about 60 acres to explore with some of the most beautifully landscaped gardens in the city. They date from the 17th century, as well as flowers and lots of colour, there are statues galore, monuments and fountains. The landscaping is a mixture of French, Spanish and English styles and is a feast for the eyes.
The focal point is a large octagonal pond encircled by stone urns and statues of French queens and other noblewomen. The pond is directly in front of the gorgeous Luxembourg Palace, built by Marie de Medici in the model of Palazzo Pitti in her native Florence.
5 hours later we left the Jardin du Luxembourg, a day of strolling, relaxing and (for Son) playing, running around and generally having a ball. This is the ideal spot to take a break from sightseeing and the ideal spot to feel like a local. Quintessential Paris with children, our whole family agreed there was no better place to spend a sunny, Sunday afternoon.