Luxembourg Gardens In Paris

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Luxembourg Gardens In Paris
Luxembourg Gardens In Paris

Video: Luxembourg Gardens In Paris

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Video: LUXEMBOURG GARDENS (Jardin du Luxembourg) - Paris, France 4K 2023, February
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Luxembourg garden
Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden

Having visited the Latin Quarter of Paris, it is almost impossible to pass by without recognizing the Luxembourg Gardens: its graceful lattice in the summer is usually decorated with the works of the next photo exhibition, and all the gates of the garden are hospitably open from 7.30 to 21.00 from April to the end of October and from 8.00 to 17.00 from November to the end of March.

Luxembourg Gardens, entrance
Luxembourg Gardens, entrance

Luxembourg Gardens, entrance

Here you will find shady alleys and green parterres, flowers and sculptures, water surface and silence. The word garden in the name is not accidental: a garden always presupposes the presence of a mansion, of which it is a continuation, while a park is, by definition, "an open green area provided by the state for the recreation of citizens." In this case, as we will see later, both options will apply.

The Luxembourg Gardens occupies 26 hectares and is the second largest park for cramped Paris. Let's see how the centuries-old history of the garden, which made it famous, was reflected in its present.

Palace of Maria de Medici

The history of this place begins in the 13th century, when the Carthusian monks planted an orchard here.

The Luxembourg Palace was built by order of Queen Marie de Medici (1573-1642), widow of Henry IV and mother of Louis XIII, the one behind whom the dubious fame of intriguer and poisoner still lasts. The Queen, having become a widow and received absolute power, decided to build a palace for herself, similar to the Italian palazzo, where she spent her childhood. For the construction, the queen bought 8 hectares of land outside the city from the Duke of Luxembourg, far from the bustle and stench of Paris and invited the famous hereditary architect Solomon de Bross, and for laying out the garden - the Florentine hydraulics and fountains master Tomazzo Francini.

Francini set up flower parterres around the fountain in front of the palace windows. Behind the parterres, there was a wide alley that bound the garden. In the southeastern corner of the garden, the Medici fountain was built in the form of a simple grotto without a pool and sculptures added later. By order of the Queen, 2,000 elms were planted, and the abandoned 16 km long Gallo-Roman Archey aqueduct, which once carried the waters of Reggie to the Baths of Cluny in Paris, was restored and taken to the garden to provide water for fountains and plants. Work on the aqueduct lasted 11 years (1613-1624).

The construction of the palace began in 1615. The architectural style of the palace is not clearly defined, this is not quite a Renaissance, but not yet Baroque.

Luxembourg Gardens, palace
Luxembourg Gardens, palace

Luxembourg Gardens, palace

The interiors of the palace were designed by Poussin, Philippe de Champagne and Rubens. Commissioned by Maria de Medici, Rubens (1577-1640) painted 24 paintings for the gallery of the palace, the theme of which was the main events in the life of the queen. Today this cycle of paintings by Rubens can be seen in the Louvre.

Despite the fact that the Luxembourg Palace was the royal residence until the French Revolution, the royal collection of paintings was open for free access since 1750. It was located in a separate room of the palace called the Museum of Luxembourg.

At the beginning of the 19th century, one hundred canvases by old masters from the royal collection of the Luxembourg Museum were sent to the Louvre, after which the Luxembourg Museum began to function as an art salon, where artists and sculptors for the first time could exhibit their works for the judgment of their contemporaries. This is how Europe's first museum of contemporary art appeared.

The palace was completed, renovated and expanded, and after the overthrow of the monarchy it was nationalized. The revolution turned the palace into a prison and armory. 800 prisoners languished within these walls, among whom were the famous revolutionaries Danton and Desmoulins, who left here on the guillotine in 1794, and no less famous, survivors of imprisonment, the artist David and Josephine de Beauharnais - the future wife of Napoleon and the first empress of France. The prison period in the life of the palace was short-lived, but extremely destructive for the garden, the parterres of which were turned into a vegetable garden. The grotto of the Maria de Medici fountain was destroyed.

In 1801 Napoleon handed the building over to the Senate, which has been sitting here for over a century since then.

Entrance to the Senate on st. Vaugirard
Entrance to the Senate on st. Vaugirard

Entrance to the Senate on st. Vaugirard

Let's leave the palace behind and go to the garden stretched out in front of it.

Lace of the Luxembourg Gardens

In 1630 the Luxembourg Gardens expanded to 30 hectares through the purchase of adjacent land. Jacques Boyceau (1560 - 1633), a landscape designer, superintendent of the royal gardens of Louis XIII, was invited to redevelop the garden, behind whose shoulders was the arrangement of the royal Tuileries garden. Boiso's design was distinguished by strict geometry and symmetry. He owns rectangular parterres with a flower broderie in front of the palace. After Boyceau's death, his treatise was published, which became a textbook on the creation of a French regular garden. The treatise contained 60 etchings with schemes of parterres and bosquets, among which there were several devoted to the planning of the Luxembourg Gardens. According to the etching, the parterre in front of the park facade of the palace was a delicate pattern of sheared boxwood and colored sand with the monogram of Maria de Medici. There were wide paths for walks,gravelled. This composition looked especially good from the palace windows of the mezzanine.

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All this was in good agreement with the theory of creating a regular garden set out in his treatise, according to which the key point of the ensemble is the palace, which stands as a decoration in an open place. The most beautiful lace parterres were placed closer to the house, as the distance from the palace the parterres of a strict geometric shape were simplified, alternating with ponds and fountains and uniting everything into a single palace and park ensemble. The mirror of the reservoirs was used to double the height of the reflected objects. All parterres were placed symmetrically relative to the main planning axis of the park so that they were clearly visible from the windows of the upper floors of the palace. In 1635, the parterres were rebuilt by André Le Nôtre, who was just beginning his ascent to the heights of landscape art.

Modern plan of the Luxembourg Gardens
Modern plan of the Luxembourg Gardens

Modern plan of the Luxembourg Gardens

Currently, the lacy parterres near the palace, which require great attention to maintain them, have given way to green parterres, framed by a floral border. Now the Luxembourg Gardens have somewhat changed their historical appearance, taking into account modern requirements.

The windows of the palace look out onto a large octagonal fountain surrounded by parterres with a single vertical stream in the center. The huge pool of the fountain is now given to children for launching boats. Toy sailboats and boats can be rented right next to the fountain. There are always many children in the park. This became the theme of the poems of Marina Tsvetaeva and Sasha Cherny.

Luxembourg garden
Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden
Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden

A wide range of entertainment will allow any child to find something to their liking, making a walk in the garden interesting and memorable. In the Great Fountain, boats with remote control can be launched; in the north-western part of the park, in the warm season, you can watch a performance of the Guignol puppet theater or ride on a real old carousel, designed back in 1879 by the architect of the Opera Charles Garnier, and children can also ride on a pony, on a donkey or in a carriage.

In the western part of the park there are playgrounds for active recreation, including the playground "Green Chicken" (Poussin Vert) with two zones - for children under 7 years old and from 7 to 12 years old - with many slides, a sandpit, swings, a climbing wall and rope trails …

Luxembourg garden
Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden

The park became a popular place for walking back in the 17th century, after it was expanded by order of Louis XIV, adding a perspective in the southern part. Green parterres with gravel paths and avenues of neatly trimmed chestnuts have become an integral part of the Observatory's perspective.

At the end of the 18th century, the Count of Provence, the future King Louis XVIII, allowed the people to pick fruit in the Luxembourg Garden, which preserved a rich collection of apple and pear varieties left to the descendants of the Cartesian monks. The accessibility of the garden only added to its popularity; in the 18th century, one could meet Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Denis Diderot here. Later they were replaced by new generations of classics - Balzac, Chateaubriand, Musset, Lamartine, and Verlaine, Sartre, Kessel, André Gide, etc.

The prospect from the palace to the observatory itself was laid by the court architect of Napoleon I, Jean-Francois Chalgrin (1739-1811), this became possible only after the demolition of the abbey. He preserved the famous Carthusian arboretum and old vineyards, cleaned up the regular park, restored the Medici fountain destroyed in the revolution, and decorated the two garden terraces with a ramp. Now the lower terrace with the Big fountain in the center was rounded by a horseshoe-shaped ramp rising to a height of about 3 m. The drop in tiers was decorated with a balustrade on the upper terrace and an earthen slope near the retaining wall on the lower terrace. The upper terrace is decorated with pots with flowering plants and sculptures.

Luxembourg Gardens, Observatory
Luxembourg Gardens, Observatory

Luxembourg Gardens, Observatory

Luxembourg garden
Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden
Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden

Near the Big Fountain in the center of the regular park, there is a quiet recreation area, where you can sit comfortably on green iron chairs and admire the park, enjoying the silence. Until 1923, light wicker chairs were issued here for a fee, while sitting on benches was free. In this regard, in the memoirs of Anna Akhmatova about meetings with Modigliani in the Luxembourg Gardens, paid chairs are mentioned, for which Modigliani never had enough money, and the two of them settled on a bench.

Luxembourg garden
Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden
Luxembourg garden

Luxembourg garden

The eastern side of the park attracts adult lovers of outdoor activities, there are playgrounds - basketball, volleyball, tennis courts, courts for the same de pom - the predecessor of tennis and petanque. There is also a quiet place for chess lovers.

In the music pavilion, located to the right of the Big Fountain, both professionals and amateurs perform in the warm season. Here you can listen to music in the fresh air for free and admire the photo exhibition, which is placed on the outside of the fence of the music kiosk.

19th century transformations

In 1830 the Orangerie was built to the left of the palace, which contained hundreds of tubs with palms, oleanders, citrus fruits and pomegranates.

Luxembourg Gardens, Orangerie
Luxembourg Gardens, Orangerie

Luxembourg Gardens, Orangerie

After expansion and reconstruction undertaken 30 years later, the Orangery building took over the Luxembourg Museum, which was formerly located in the palace. This museum was a favorite place for Hemingway, who lived in Paris from 1921 to 1928 and invariably came here to look at the canvases of the Impressionists. In 1985, the entire collection of contemporary art canvases was transferred to the newly opened Museum d'Orsay. In the Orangerie, about 180 species of plants, including tropical ones, are still cultivated, which serve as an adornment of the garden and palace. During the warmer months, when the plants are taken out into the garden, temporary thematic exhibitions are held in the Greenhouse.

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After 1848, the park was replenished with 20 marble statues of French queens and other famous women of France, they were placed on both sides of the upper terrace. Here you can see statues of Queen Margot, Marie de Medici, Mary Stuart, the keeper of Paris, St. Genevieve, the legendary symbol of Toulouse - Clemence Isor, Petrarch's beloved - Laura de Nov, etc.

Statues of the heroes of ancient Greek mythology, including "The Triumph of Satyr", "Theseus Fighting the Minotaur", Ario and the Dolphin, Dancing Faun, Greek Actor, "Mouth of Truth", and animal sculptures by the outstanding animal painter Auguste Kane supplemented the collection of sculptures at the end of the 19th century.

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Baron Haussmann's vigorous activity on a large-scale reconstruction of the streets of Paris did not ignore the Latin Quarter. In the 1860s. laying st. Rue Auguste Comte cut off the southern part of the park and led to the loss of a large part of the old arboretum of the Carthusians (Pepiniere), which was a favorite site of Maupassant. The laying of rue de Medicis cut off the western wing of the garden and forced the relocation of the Marie de Medici fountain closer to the palace to the northwestern part of the garden.

The fountain was moved by the architect Alphonse de Gisor, after the reconstruction the Marie de Medici fountain acquired a modern look. It is not without reason that this landmark of Paris is mentioned in all guidebooks; the fountain has a special attraction and is considered the most romantic place in the city. The simple grotto created by Francini was complemented by a 50 m long rectangular pool into which fish were launched. When you look at the pool of the fountain, the illusion of the slope of the water mirror is created, it arises due to the gradual increase in the height of the sides of the pool as you approach the grotto. The fountain is surrounded by a plane tree alley, and ivy garlands imitate a balustrade, reflected in the surface of the pool.

Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto
Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto

Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto

Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto
Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto

Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto

The grotto itself has also undergone changes. De Gisor restored the coat of arms of Maria de Medici, returned the sculptures of the Seine and Rhone to their places. In the grotto of the fountain, he placed the sculptural group of the rendezvous of Galatea and Akides and Polyphemus watching them by the sculptor Auguste Otten. According to legend, the cyclops Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon, was in love with the nereid Galatea, who rejected him. Galatea loved the young man Akida, the scene of their meeting and was found by an angry Polyphemus.

Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto
Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto

Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto

Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto
Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto

Luxembourg Gardens. Grotto

In 1864, on the back of the Medici fountain, another fountain appeared - "The Swan and Leda", which de Gisor saved from demolition when the neighboring street was widened.

In the 19th century, Gabriel Daviu (1824-1881) contributed to the arrangement of the garden. He surrounds the garden with an elegant fence and builds polychrome brick garden houses.

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Now one of them houses a beekeeping school, and every year there is a honey festival, where you can taste honey from a local apiary. In 1856, the first urban apiary in Paris appeared in a secluded corner of the Luxembourg Gardens. Since that time, the idea of ​​beekeeping began to gain popularity among the townspeople against the backdrop of the struggle for the environment. Now there are more than a thousand beehives in Paris, and the most amazing thing is that they are placed on the roofs of buildings such as the Grand Opera and Notre Dame, the Musée d'Orsay and Les Invalides, the La Défense tower, the Austerlitz station and even on the Paris Mint and the buildings of individual companies. So do not be surprised if in the souvenir shop of one of the mentioned attractions you see honey from a local apiary with the appropriate name: Opera honey or honey d'Orsay.

Davieu converted the remains of an old Cartesian tree nursery into an English landscape park with winding paths and a rose garden, and renovated an orchard with apiary in the southwest. The orchard, which has preserved hundreds of varieties of apple and pear trees for centuries, still blooms and bears fruit.

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With the onset of spring, the Luxembourg Gardens become more cheerful and renewed. The greenery of mighty plane trees and chestnuts, lindens and maples is diversified by flowering mixborders. The green surfaces of the neatly trimmed parterres and the whiteness of the paths sprinkled with sandstone crumbs contrast with the verticals of the trimmed alleys. Tubs with palms, oleanders, laurels, pomegranates and various citrus trees are exposed to the fresh air from the greenhouse, creating a unique atmosphere of ancient aristocratic gardens. Among the greenhouse plants there are also old-timers who remember the era of Napoleon.

Citrus in a tub
Citrus in a tub

Citrus in a tub

Oleander
Oleander

Oleander

Privet bushes and aucuba diversify the landscape. Sheared boxwood forms low hedges. Among all this greenery, sparrows, turtle doves, kinglets and motley woodpeckers chirp and share something.

In the greenhouses located in the southeastern part of the garden, constant work is underway to cultivate the most decorative and urban-resistant plants.

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In order for flowers to delight visitors all warm seasons, flower beds and mixborders are selected according to their composition so that the flowering of some is followed by the flowering of others. In addition, from April to October, plantings are updated three times.

Source of inspiration

The Luxembourg Gardens have provided inspiration for writers, poets, artists and painters from century to century. They not only came to this garden themselves, but also brought their heroes here. Dumas settled his faithful Musketeers near Luxembourg. Victor Hugo made it the meeting place for his characters in Les Miserables, and William Faulkner made it the place of the finale of The Sanctuary.

Many traces have been left on the paths of the Luxembourg Gardens by our compatriots. In 1717, Peter I visited the palace. Nikolai Karamzin during his trip to Europe in 1789-1790. also managed to visit here. In 1909 Marina Tsvetaeva liked to come here, being in exile in 1929, Sasha Cherny came to sit in the park. In 1911 Akhmatova and Modigliani met here. Brodsky, Babel and Mandelstam loved this garden. Walking through the garden, Joseph Brodsky, under the impression of the statue of Maria Medici, wrote the poem "20 Sonnets to Maria Medici."

At the end of the 19th century, the park was replenished with sculptures of writers and artists. Among them were statues and busts of writers and poets - Flaubert, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Stendhal, Georges Sand, Henri Munget, composers - Beethoven, Chopin, Massenet, artists - Watteau and Delacroix, and other famous people of France.

Luxembourg Gardens. Fountain in memory of Delacroix
Luxembourg Gardens. Fountain in memory of Delacroix

Luxembourg Gardens. Fountain in memory of Delacroix

Twentieth century

One of the replicas of the Statue of Liberty on Swan Island
One of the replicas of the Statue of Liberty on Swan Island

One of the replicas of the Statue of Liberty on Swan Island

Let's see what changes the 20th century brought to the Luxembourg Gardens.

A 2-meter bronze model of the "Freedom Illuminating the World" statue is of constant interest to visitors. In 1906 Bartholdi donated it to the Luxembourg Gardens. After the barbaric damage to the sculpture in 2011, the original of Svoboda was replaced with a copy. This statue is one of the four remaining in France, while the well-known American Statue of Liberty was sent to the United States in 1885 as a gift for the 100th anniversary of the country's founding. Gustave Eiffel and his assistant Maurice Kechlin designed the steel support and supporting frame of the giant statue weighing 30 tonnes and 46 meters high.

The Second World War almost became a fatal milestone in the fate of the garden. During the occupation of Paris by the Nazi troops, the garden was turned into a German camp for four years with bunkers and trenches, military equipment and cut down trees. The palace housed the headquarters of the Luftwaffe, where Hermann Goering often visited. Now it is difficult to imagine the alleys of the park, disfigured by trenches, where on August 25, 1944, two thousand soldiers were taken prisoner. The palace, turned into a fortified point, was subject to destruction, according to Hitler's orders, along with other historical sites and sights of Paris. The city was saved thanks to the selfless decision of the commandant of Paris, Dietrich von Choltitz, to surrender the city without a fight. In 1946, the Paris Peace Conference was held at the Luxembourg Palace.

In 1958, it was decided to secure the territory of the Luxembourg Gardens to the Senate, which from its own funds financed the restoration of the garden with a regular park on one side and a landscape park on the other. Senate Park, now the name is applicable to it, is open to the public.

This is how the Luxembourg Gardens, with its fountains, parterres, orchard, greenhouse, greenhouses, beekeeper, playgrounds and an ever-increasing collection of sculptures, found its last owner.

We leave the gate of the Luxembourg Gardens on the south side on the street. Auguste Comte, here the main axis of the garden continues with the Observatory Square. Officially, this part is called the Marco Polo Garden. The improvement of the Observatory square is also the merit of Gabriel Daviu.

Marco Polo Garden
Marco Polo Garden

Marco Polo Garden

Observatory fountain
Observatory fountain

Observatory fountain

The square is completed by the fountain "Four parts of the world", it is also called the Observatory fountain or the Carpo fountain. In 1875 Daviu placed this intricate structure here, on which four sculptors worked.

The girls, endowed with the characteristic features of the four continents - Eurasia, North and South America and Africa - were created by Jean-Baptiste Carpeau (1827-1875). Among the parts of the world, there is no Australia, which, according to the creator, would violate the harmony of the composition. The girls support the hollow sphere of the work of Pierre Legrand, which is surrounded by a ring with the signs of the zodiacal constellations on the outside, and a globe is inside it. The pool of the fountain is decorated with four pairs of hippocampus - Neptune's water horses rushing out of the ocean waters, four fishes and turtles spewing counter streams of water, the work of Emmanuel Fremy. The pedestal garlands are designed by Louis Villemot.

The street of the Observatory, along the square of which we are walking, is notable for the fact that the prime Parisian meridian passes through it, which was considered a measure of longitude counting before the transfer of the prime meridian to Greenwich in 1884. Along the entire meridian line passing through the Cathedral of Saint-Sulpice, the Observatory Street and the Paris Observatory, 135 bronze medallions with the name of Dominique François Arago (1786-1853) and indicating the north-south direction are mounted in the bridge cities. Medallions appeared in Paris in 1984. to the 200th anniversary of the scientist. They replaced the bronze statue of Arago, a French physicist, astronomer, politician and director of the Paris Observatory, which stood near the Observatory and was melted down by the Nazis. Such medallions can be found on the paths of the Luxembourg Gardens and the Marco Polo Gardens.

We got to the end point of the Observatory square.

It's time to end our walk in one of the most famous gardens in Paris. I hope that after getting to know the history of the Luxembourg Gardens, you will want to see and experience its charm.

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