We cheapskates in Paris should be grateful to Marie de Medici for giving us a nice place to rest our aching feet.
In 1612 Marie planted 2000 elm trees. Quite possibly she didn’t do them all personally. She had enough money to throw a big barbecue and offer free drinks to friends prepared to bring their own shovels.
Marie was Italian, so she asked professional horticulturalist Tomaso Francini to reproduce the gardens she’d enjoyed back in Florence.
When the garden was expanded in 1630, work was done by Jacques Boyceau, one of the fathers of the French formal garden, and who’d done a good job at the Jardin de Tuileries and the Palais de Versailles.
The land had come with a small hotel (now Le Petit Luxembourg) but Marie wanted something bigger, in case one of her larger garden parties was washed out. Builders were engaged to create the Palais de Luxembourg, which now houses the French Senate.
Unlike the Palais de Versailles, entry to the Jardin de Luxembourg is absolutely free, any day of the year.
As the sun came out after a grey spell, we joined many others looking through the balustrades to the lawns and ponds beyond. There was plenty of room and reclining chairs for all of us.