Although the Jardin des Tuileries near the Louvre also is an attractive garden, the best garden in Paris is the 25 hectare (62 acre) Jardin du Luxembourg, which Parisians sometimes abbreviate as Luco.
Nestled in the 6th arrondissement, Luco first was commissioned starting in 1612 by Marie de' Medici — King Henry IV's widow — and was reconfigured substantially by Georges-Eugène Haussmann in the 1850s. It now is owned and used by the French Senate, whose members meet in the Luxembourg Palace within the garden.
Entry is free and free guided tours of the garden itself and its multitude of fountains and statues are available on the first Wednesday of the month at 9:30 AM in the spring, summer, and autumn. It's definitely a nice place to spend a sunny morning or afternoon, and you will see plenty of students from the nearby Sorbonne University enjoying the garden alongside local families and tourists when the weather is cooperative. Note that the park closes one hour before sunset, though. Consider enjoying the sunset from Montparnasse Tower instead.
Another popular tourist attraction — which travelgasm.com has grouped with Jardin du Luxembourg because it is a short walk away on Rue Soufflot — is the Panthéon.
Modeled largely after the Pantheon in Rome with a different dome design, the Panthéon in Paris was commissioned by Louis XV starting in 1764 as a church in honor of Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris.
However, in 1885, the Panthéon started to be used exclusively to house the elite dead of Paris; and it remains in that role to this day. Tourists flock to the building to see where decidedly old school French celebrities like Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie were laid to rest. During the spring, summer, and autumn, it also is possible to admire the view over the city from the rim of its dome.
The Panthéon is open most days of the year starting at 10 AM with slightly differing closing times depending on the season. Be sure to review the official schedule to avoid any potential disappointment. Also note that the last admission is 45 minutes before closing time. Based on our experience during the month of September, the queues in the mid-morning at the Panthéon are much shorter than those at Notre-Dame, but it would be wise to book a ticket in advance, particularly if you are visiting in the summer. Kindly, there are no date or time limitations for pre-booked tickets, and they are the same price as tickets purchased at the building itself.
If you would like to visit the Panthéon as well as the Louvre, d'Orsay, and l'Orangerie museums, the Centre Pompidou, and the Notre Dame towers and crypt, you might also want to consider buying the Paris Museum Pass in advance. The Paris Museum Pass provides "skip the line" access to the Panthéon as well as dozens of museums and a handful of other attractions. Two, four, and six-day options are available.
To eat and drink nearby, Rue Mouffetard and the surrounding streets near Sorbonne University are a good budget option. Although Rue Mouffetard is similar to Rue Montorgueil in Le Marais in some respects — both are famous streets lined with grocers, restaurants, cafés, and bars — but Rue Mouffetard largely focuses on a student crowd, so prices are low with plat du jour (plate of the day) meal options commonly available for €8-€20. Well-regarded — and affordable — restaurants in the neighborhood include Atelier 72 for French, Nossa for Portuguese, and Savannah Café for Lebanese.
If you're interested in the Rue Mouffetard street market, it is at its most active on Saturday and Sunday morning, closed in the afternoons, and closed altogether on Monday. In the evenings, the bars whir to life and keep the party going until 2 AM or so during the week and until 5 AM on Friday and Saturday nights. However, keep in mind that the metro stops running around midnight on Sunday through Thursday and around 1 AM on Friday and Saturday nights so you will need to take a taxi or a night bus (the Noctilien) if you stay after this time. Be sure to check the official train schedule or the night bus schedule for your specific route for confirmation.
We've mapped out the quickest route from the Jardin du Luxembourg to the Panthéon and Rue Mouffetard below.
How to Get Here: Take RER Line B to Luxembourg Station. The Jardin du Luxembourg Exit is immediately next to an entry gate on the east side of the park. Place Monge and Censier - Daubenton Metro Stations, both on Line 7, are convenient departure points from Rue Mouffletard. If you follow our suggested walk, it starts at Luxembourg Station on RER Line B and ends at Censier - Daubenton Metro Station on Line 7.
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