A trip to Paris without at least one walk through the Luxembourg gardens is like eating a French meal without accompanying it with a glass of wine.
While the gardens lie directly on Paris’s beaten path they still, somehow, reveal an authentic view of Parisian life. Despite the number of tourists here, parents still bring their children to play about the jungle gyms, smoking businessmen continue to people watch on park chairs, and elderly men incessantly argue points while playing the French bowling game pétanque. Simply put, there are few parks in the world as integrated into the fabric of a city as the Luxembourg gardens are in Paris.
Recommending the Luxembourg gardens to travelers will never be breaking news but visitors shouldn’t miss a place where a young Hemingway found distraction from hunger pangs, lovers flock to propose marriage, and children ride ponies and captain sail boats in the shadows of a 17th century palace.
Yes, Cheapos, the park is free, but no, you can’t sleep there.