Since it was too late to head to the catacombs, I checked my map to see what else was nearby and would have still been open at that time. The Luxembourg Garden was only two stops away on the RER B line and it was in the direction of my hostel, so I figured it would be a good place to relax a bit and go for a walk. Before heading inside the garden grounds, I bought a scoop of chocolate orange ice cream, which was basically just chocolate ice cream with orange bits mixed into it, so that I could enjoy it in the park. Unfortunately, I actually didn’t like it. Womps.
I think the most beautiful section of the garden is the central area, where you can sit around the pool (not a swimming pool) and get a good look at the Palais du Luxembourg, or the Luxembourg Palace. Kids and kids-at-heart can rent mini sailboats with different country flags and have them float across the pool, with the help of a little wind and prodding from long stick.
The garden was built in the 1600s to accompany the Luxembourg Palace, which used to be the residence of King Henry IV’s widow, Marie de’ Medici. After many years acting as a residence for various descendants and their spouses, the Luxembourg Palace held several other uses, including functioning as a legislative building, a museum, and even the French headquarters of the Luftwaffe, Germany’s air force during World War II. Now, it is the meeting place for the Senate.
There are several statues and monuments scattered around the garden, but I only walked around the northeastern section when I visited. There, you can find “La Femme Aux Pommes” by Jean Terzieff, which, if I translated the sign correctly, was created for the 1937 World’s Fair and depicts a woman spreading the apple of discord between people, foreshadowing the start of WWII, which would begin two years later in 1939.
A nearby statue, “Monument Aux Étudiants Résistants” by Gaston Watkin, commemorates the lives of those students who died during the French Resistance. It was erected in 1956.
Also nearby is the Medici Fountain, which has been around since 1630.
I left the garden and walked towards the Panthéon, since it wasn’t too far. The building houses the remains of many important French figures including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Louis Braille, and Pierre and Marie Curie. It had closed already by the time I had gotten there, but it is definitely one of the places that I would like to visit during my next trip to Paris.
The next leg of my trip in Europe was fast approaching, so I headed back to my hostel afterwards to do some planning.