The Luxembourg Gardens are one of the world’s great places. They’re beautiful and iconic of Paris, they’re full of history and contain plenty to do and see. Built along with the Palais du Luxembourg in the 17th century by a heartbroken Marie de Medicis, after the assassination of her husband Henry IV, the park is typical of the time with its formal layout of avenues of trees, the central fountain and vista of the palace.
These days the Palais is the seat of the French Senate and you can go inside and watch a session for free. The building is based of Marie’s home in Florence, the Pitti Palace, with an updated, more French look to it. The 60 acre (25ha) gardens themselves are very popular with both Parisians and tourists. French children grow up pushing boats in the central fountain, Grand Basin, and you can rent the small sailing boats and launch your own.