If you’re heading to Paris in spring, summer, or fall be sure to take some time to relax in the many gardens hiding around the city, not only will you get a welcome respite from the endless tourism but you’ll get a peek at real Parisian life.
One of my favorites is the Luxembourg Gardens. Designed by Catherine de Medici in the 1600’s today this garden is a Parisian favorite. The second largest in Paris, on a weekend you’ll see families around the big pool watching the little ones sail little boats across the water, couples reading the weekend paper or soaking up the sun, and groups of friends sharing a laugh. On a weekday, around lunch time the park fills up with Tupperware bearing workers taking a break from the office with a quick picnic lunch or Pétanque clubs tossing metal balls in the courts on the outskirts of the park.
If you stop by on a weekend or a weekday, for a picnic or simply people watching and relaxation, don’t miss out on some of the garden’s sweet secrets…
Just outside the Luxembourg metro station you’ll find artisanal ice cream stands with a million and one delicious flavours to try. I had a lavender cone and my bestie choose violet on our last trip – strange as the flavors may sound, they were amaaazing (they have chocolate and vanilla too, so no worries for the faint of the flower flavored heart)! Pick up a cone to enjoy it as you stroll around the park looking for the Medici fountain or a green metal chair to relax in.
If you are heading in from St. Germain take a stroll down Rue Bonaparte and pick up a few macarons from Laduree and Pierre Hermé just down the street to have some macarons in the park. Unless you want to get total sugar coma I recommend choosing about four flavors at each place (two per person- four macarons will cost about 8 euros but are worth every penny). Then head to the gardens and enjoy. You’ll have to tell me which if your favorite shop and flavor! It is an unforgettable gourmet afternoon treat tasting the little bits of almondy heaven melt in your mouth as you take a break in one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris.
To get to the Luxembourg gardens with a stop for ice cream take the RER B Line to Luxembourg.
To get to the gardens with a stop by macaron heaven take Metro Line 4 to St Germain des Prés and head north to the adorable corner shop Laduree at 21 rue Bonaparte then head back south to 72 rue Bonaparte to stop at Pierre Hermé just before St. Sulpice Church.