The Jardin du Luxembourg offers formal lawns, gravel paths and resplendent floral parterres, all dotted with sculptures, citrus and olive trees in giant pots (taken inside in winter) and elegant sage-green chairs. Sprawling on the lawns is strictly forbidden, except on the southernmost strip, which gets fantastically crowded on sunny days. The shady Fontaine de Médicis, in the northeast corner, is a pleasant place to sit, and there’s a delightful café roughly 100m northeast of the central pond. The pond is overlooked by the Palais du Luxembourg, seat of the French Senate. The western side of the park is the more active area, with tennis courts and a puppet theatre that has been in the same family for the best part of a century, and still puts on enthralling shows. The quieter, wooded southeast corner ends in a miniature orchard of elaborately espaliered pear trees.

On the north side of the park, the Musée du Luxembourg hosts some of the city’s largest and most exciting temporary art exhibitions. Recent successes have included an exhibition on the Tudors and another featuring Manet, Renoir and Monet.

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