Palais du Luxembourg
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The mansion next door (Le Petit Luxembourg) is the residence of the Sénat's president. The gardens, though, are the real draw: part formal (terraces and gravel paths), part 'English garden' (lawns and mature trees), they are the quintessential Paris park. The garden is crowded with sculptures: a looming Cyclops (on the 1624 Fontaine de Médicis), queens of France, a miniature Statue of Liberty, wild animals, busts of Flaubert and Baudelaire, and a monument to Delacroix. There are orchards and an apiary.
After closing for more than a year, the Musée National du Luxembourg (19 rue de Vaugirard, 01.40.13.62.00, www.museeduluxembourg.fr) is due to reopen in February 2011. Most interesting, though, are the people: a mixture of flâneurs and dragueurs, chess players and martial-arts practitioners, as well as children on ponies, in sandpits, on roundabouts and playing with the sailing boats on the pond.
19 rue de Vaugirard
|Opening hours:||Jardin summer 7.30am-dusk daily; winter 8am-dusk daily|