Paris is a large, bustling city that has no shortage of impressive buildings, photo-worthy monuments, and world-class museums. Most of which young children and even teens have a somewhat love-hate relationship with. Most children are more than happy to ride to the top of the Eiffel tower, but eventually get tired of trekking from one tourist attraction to the next. Sometimes kids (and parents) need a break from the often frantic pace of sightseeing to just relax and enjoy each others' company.
The Jardins de Luxembourg are the perfect reprieve from the busy streets of Paris, and are a great way to enjoy a bit of nature right in the thick of the city. The Jardins de Luxembourg are a 25 hectare oasis of English and French gardens, walking paths, large stretches of grass, ponds, and activities for the whole family to enjoy. While it is definitely encouraged to relax on one of the many public chairs that dot the gardens and to enjoy an open-air picnic under the Paris sky, there are also plenty of activities for kids of all ages.
6 Things to do in the Jardins de Luxembourg
The Jardin de Luxembourg has several small play areas for children, with the age range posted. Most are from 2-6 or 2-12. There is also a large playground called "Les Poussins Verts" that costs a small fee for children to enter, and provides in and out privileges all day long. We take our children there often, and feel it's great value. The play areas are separated by age range, so the really young children aren't trying to compete with older kids for equipment. There are also bathrooms located within the play area. Recommended for children from toddlers to age 12.
2- Puppet Theater:
Marionnettes are a big thing in Paris, and pop-up theatres often appear in different corners of the city when the weather gets warm. At the Jardins de Luxembourg, they have a year-round theatre that puts on shows every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 2pm. They also put on shows from 4pm during school holiday periods. Young kids love the easy-to-follow puppet shows, even if they don't speak French. Recommended from about age 5-10.
The ubiquitous image of young children trying to guide sailboats on the pond in the Jardins de Luxembourg is very real. One thing I've found in Paris is that there is still an appreciation for more traditional toys and games. I often see kids playing with toys that might seem old-fashioned to children from North America. Still, I've yet to see any kid turn their nose up at the chance to sail one of those little boats. Boats can be rented for a specific time period at a little kiosk beside the "grand basin" or big pond. There's really no age limit on who can enjoy this activity.
4- Pony Rides:
The park offers pony rides to young children for a small fee. My youngest is too frightened to actually ride one, but he loves watching his older brother, so it's win-win really.
For families with older kids, the opportunity to play sports in the park is a big draw. It's also a great way for kids to make some friends. There are tennis courts, basketball courts, chess tables, running paths, and areas to play soccer. Not to mention all that open space to just let kids run around and blow off some steam!
6- Free Concerts:
When the warm weather arrives, the free concerts in the park begin! The concert schedule is updated each month at the Senat website. It typically offers a wide variety of musical types, from visiting marching bands, to classical and contemporary artists. Young and older children can enjoy concerts while relaxing or enjoying a picnic.
In addition to all this, there are over 100 sculptures, as well as sculptures and gardens. Guided tours are available, as are classes in horticulture. There are snack stands dotted around the park, but gluten free options are not always guaranteed to be on the menu. I recommend just bringing a picnic! There are over 4800 moveable seats and 3500 fixed bench seats, so you should always be able to find a place to sit.
Address: Rue de Medicis- Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris (Metro: Odeon, RER: Luxembourg)
The Jardins de Luxembourg are open year round, but the hours vary depending on the season.
Entry is free, but there are fees associated with participation in certain activities.
For more information, consult the online brochure.