While formal gardens are not generally my thing, it would have been criminal to not visit the Jardin du Luxembourg, it was only a 10 minute walk from our hotel.
Visiting in January did nothing to up it's appeal, however. Still, I'm glad I saw it. The highlight? Medici Fountain.
Unknowingly I approached the fountain from the backside, which was quite beautiful and has it's own name, Fontaine de Léda.
But then I walked around to the front...
From the Wiki: "In 1864, during the Second French Empire, Baron Haussmann planned to build the rue de Medicis through the space occupied by the fountain. The lateral arcades of the fountain and the crumbling old orangerie behind it had already been torn down in 1855. From 1858 to 1864, The new architect, Alphonse de Gisors, moved the fountain thirty meters to make room for the street, and radically changed its setting and appearance.
Since the fountain no longer stood against a wall, the Fontaine de Léda, displaced from another neighborhood, was placed directly behind it. (See the Fountain of Leda, below.) He replaced the two original statues of nymphs at the top of the statue with two new statues, representing the Rivers Rhone and Seine. He restored the coat of arms of the Medici family over the fountain, which had been defaced during the Revolution. He inserted two statues into the niches, one representing a faun and the other a huntress, above which are two masks, one representing comedy and the other tragedy. He removed the simple basin and water spout which had been in the niche and replaced them with a long tree-shaded basin. Finally, he removed the statue of Venus and replaced her with a group of statues by Auguste Ottin, representing the giant Polyphemus, in bronze, discovering the lovers Acis and Galatea, in white marble. That is the fountain as it appears today."
The signage is ceramic (!), and refers to the moving of the fountain mentioned above: "In 1862 the creation of the rue de Medicis, whose trace was made largely to the detriment of the garden, forced to demount the fountain and bring it closer to 30 m to the palace. Only the arbes in front of her were preserved. This plane tree wedges between the grill of the garden."
I cannot even begin to imagine how beautiful this must be when the trees are leafed out and the urns planted up.
Of course they could plant evergreens in the urns, so they look great year-round, but that didn't seem to be the way of thinking here (more on that in a bit).
One last shot...
Before I turned my attention to the Luxembourg Palace, too much attention it would seem...
I was about where those people are, near the fence, when I tried to look in at the landscaping.
Which was about as exciting as this (photo from elsewhere in the garden).
But then I had a gun pointed at me! Not this guy, but the guy three photos up. I later read the garden is now owned by the French Senate, which meets in the Palace. Okay but guns!? And can you imagine spending your day standing in that little cubicle?
Moving on...from the Wiki article on the garden: "The garden is largely devoted to a green parterre of gravel and lawn populated with statues and centered on a large octagonal basin of water, with a central jet of water; in it children sail model boats. The garden is famed for its calm atmosphere." (hmm, calm...with guns!?)
There were a couple of young boys who were sailing boats (or rather trying, they seemed to be having a rough go of it) as I walked by. Their father didn't look like the sort who would appreciate a stranger snapping a photo of the moment, so I did not.
More evidence of a lack of desire to provide winter interest in the garden. Put something in there already!!!
L'Effort, by Pierre Roche
Musee du Luxembourg
I could see palms through the windows of L'orangerie and knew I wanted to get inside. But was unabe to find a door that was open (and I tried them all, aware that guy with the gun was just a few hundred feet away). Turns out you can only get inside when there's a show going on. Bummer.
Again with the precision pruning. I'd love to see this bit of artwork in process.
I found this building outside the garden very interesting.
It looks like there may have been a time when the windows/doors above the modern windows opened up.
Oh! More areas I would love to get into, but were off-limits (behind a fence).
Employees growing salad greens perhaps?
Again with my camera poked through the fence, looks preparation for an event?
And now I'm behind the building with the subterranean greenhouses out front...
More greenhouses! Really wish I could get in there and poke around (it was fenced)...
Google translate: "This sculpture refers to the Roman legend that one can not withdraw one's hand from Verite's mouth that one never lied." Of course if you saw Roman Holiday you remember Bocca della Verità.
Okay, the garden was closing — as in they literally were locking the gates — so it was time to wander on. Hope you enjoyed this somwhat random look at Jardin du Luxembourg.
Weather Diary, March 15: Hi 56, Low 37/ Precip .12
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