The Luxembourg Gardens, or Le Jardin du Luxembourg as it's referred to by the French, is Paris' version of NYC's Central Park. Although it was almost nothing like what I had expected, I absolutely loved the place. What a perfect respite to a week of museum and cathedral hopping! We arrived to the gardens just ahead of a downpour and still, the park was bustling with Parisian families. We saw lots of older couples walking hand-in-hand, lots of grandmas and grandpas with little grandchildren, and families out for a leisurely afternoon in the park. Everyone seemed so happy and relaxed, and just SO....FRENCH!! I loved how the park was lined with rows and rows of young trees just beginning to take bloom, and even though the park contained only a few patches of grass, there was certainly something appealing about its dirt and gravel walkways. I really wanted to rent a tiny boat to sail in the large ponds (the French call them "basins") that were in the garden, but sadly, they were closed by the time we arrived. We had to "settle" instead for a ride on the vintage carousel that was on one edge of the park, right next to the puppet theater where the original "Punch and Judy" show was performed. The gardens also are home to the French Senate, and rumor has it (or Rick Steves) that the French version of the CIA is located underneath the gardens. It was high on our Parisian "Must Do" list and I'm so glad that we made time for it. It's a place that I'd love to see in the summer or early fall when it's in high bloom! Visiting here made me want to pack up the kids and move to Paris. It was one of those places where I felt more like a world traveler enjoying my most recent city instead of a tourist following a guide book. I could totally imagine being a young(ish) Parisian family out for a stroll in the park and enjoying the fresh air. Don't miss it!
The Gendarmerie--the French version of the Carabinieri. Even though these two gentlemen look very stern, they were very friendly to us!
The Luxembourg Palace
I loved the spikes to deter the birds!
Gross! But Trey was in heaven...
The basin where you can rent the boats
I loved the rows and rows of trees that were just starting to bloom. Maybe Steve and I will retire in Paris one day and stroll hand-in-hand like the older couple...
It cracked me up that the brats decided to ride in a carriage together instead of on individual horses.
Isn't this little French boy adorable! The kids each got these sticks that were supposed to be lances and the operators had these metal rings that they would hold out and the kids would try to catch with their lances. I wanted to try but Steve wouldn't let me... :(
Nutella Crepes=Heaven...(but they weren't cheap....)
Check out how she's CLUTCHING that bag for dear life and how she has the super annoyed look on her face!
Now...there's a funny story about this picture. Just before we got to the park, we grabbed some raspberries from a fruit vendor to eat as a little mid-afternoon snack. Both Delilah and Jackson insisted on carrying their own bag and we planned on sitting on one of the green park chairs that are everywhere in Paris and enjoying a few. We got up close to the "basin", found some chairs, and got ready to sit down, but JUST as we were talking the kids into sharing "their" berries, this adorable little French boy came up to Delilah and started to babble to her in French. It was obvious to everyone that Delilah was not having anything to do with this kid and was certainly not going to share her berries. She kept shooting him her death stare, until finally Jackson stepped up and shared his berries with the little boy--I forget his name, but it was something very French, like Jon-Luc or Henry (pronounce Han-ree). His mom realized we were Americans and spoke to us in perfect English about how funny the situation was. It turns out that Jon-Luc/Henry was just a few weeks younger than Delilah. I wanted to ask for the lady's phone number, move in next door, and come to the park each day for playdates...
UGH!!! Going through all these pictures of Paris SO makes me want to go back. It was SUCH an awesome vacation for our family--even the brats loved it! The French people couldn't have been nicer to us and the entire city was AMAZING. I'm ready to go back....
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