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People relaxing in front of the Luxembourg Palace

The Jardin du Luxembourg is the largest public park (224,500 m² (22.5 hectares) located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, France. The park is the garden of the French Senate, which is itself housed in the Luxembourg Palace.

Contents

Features

The garden is largely devoted to a green parterre of gravel and lawn populated with statues and centred on a large octagonal basin of water, with a central jet of water; in it children sail model boats.[1] The garden is famed for its calm atmosphere. Surrounding the bassin on the raised balustraded terraces are a series of statues of former French queens, saints and copies after the Antique. In the southwest corner, there is an orchard of apple and pear trees and the théâtre des marionnettes (puppet theatre). The gardens include a large fenced-in playground for young children and their parents and a vintage carousel. In addition, free musical performances are presented in a gazebo on the grounds and there is a small cafe restaurant nearby, under the trees, with both indoor and outdoor seating from which many people enjoy the music over a glass of wine.

The École nationale supérieure des Mines de Paris and the Odéon theatre stand next to the Luxembourg Garden.

Fountain of the Observatory

The central axis of the garden is extended, beyond its wrought iron grill and gates opening to rue Auguste Comte, by the central esplanade of the rue de l'Obsérvatoire, officially the Jardin Marco Polo, where sculptures of the four Times of Day alternate with columns and culminate at the southern end with the 1874 "Fountain of the Observatory", also known as the "Fontaine des Quatre-Parties-du-Monde" or the "Carpeaux Fountain", for its sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux . It was installed as part of the development of the avenue de l'Observatoire by Gabriel Davioud in 1867.

The bronze fountain represents the work of four sculptors: Louis Vuillemot carved the garlands and festoons around the pedestal, Pierre Legrain carved the armillary with interior globe and zodiac band; the animalier Emmanuel Fremiet designed the eight horses, marine turtles and spouting fish. Most importantly Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux sculpted the four nude women supporting the globe, representing the Four Continents of classical iconography.

Open hours for the Luxembourg Garden depend on the month: opening between 7:30 and 8:15 am; closing at dusk between 4:45 and 9:45 pm.

Statuary

Location of the series Reines de France et Femmes illustres (Queens of France and Famous Women) around the central basin.

The garden contains just over a hundred statues, monuments, and fountains, scattered throughout the grounds. Surrounding the central green space are about twenty figures of historical French queens and female saints commisionned by Louis-Philippe in 1848, standing on pedestals, including statues of Jeanne III of Navarre, Blanche of Castile, Anne of Austria, Louise of Savoy, and Anne of France.

Other sculptured work includes:

Monument to Jean-Antoine Watteau, by Henri Désiré Gauquié, 1896

Medici Fountain

The Medici Fountain

The Medici Fountain (La fontaine Médicis) was built in 1630 by Marie de' Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France and regent of King Louis XIII of France. It was designed by Tomasso Francini, a Florentine fountain maker and hydraulic engineer who was brought from Florence to France by King Henry IV. It was in the form of a grotto, a popular feature of the Italian Renaissance garden. It fell into ruins during the 18th century, but in 1811, at the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, the fountain was restored by Jean Chalgrin, the architect of the Arc de Triomphe. In 1864-66, the fountain was moved to its present location, centered on the east front of the Palais du Luxembourg. The long basin of water was built and flanked by plane trees, and the sculptures of the giant Polyphemus surprising the lovers Acis and Galatea, by French classical sculptor Auguste Ottin, were added to the grotto's rockwork. [2]

Jardin du Luxembourg in Popular Culture

The gardens are featured prominently in the Victor Hugo novel Les Misérables. It is here that the principal love story of the novel unfolds, as the characters Marius Pontmercy and Cosette first meet.

Images


Sources and Citations

  1. ^ Plan of the Gardens, identifying sculptures.
  2. ^ Paris et ses fontaines, de la Renaissance à nos jours, texts assembled by Dominque Massounie, Pauline-Prevost-Marcilhacy and Daniel Rabreau, Délegation a l'action artistique de la Ville de Paris, and Yves-Marie Allain and Janine Christiany, L'art des jardins en Europe, Citadelles & Mazenod, Paris, 2006.

External links

Bibliography

  • André Arnold-Peltier and Vassili Karist, Le jardin du Luxembourg / The Luxembourg gardens, Éditions Pippa, collection Itinérances (ISBN 978-2-916506-00-4) (photos)

See also

Coordinates: 48°50′49″N 2°20′14″E / 48.84694°N 2.33722°E / 48.84694; 2.33722

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