11/24/2014 12:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Paris Landmark Evolves With the Seasons

Text and photography by Lee F. Mindel for Architectural Digest.


Luxembourg Palace, photographed in summer.

Whenever I visit Paris, I make a point of strolling through the Luxembourg Garden, which -- along with the accompanying palace -- was commissioned in 1612 by Marie de Médicis, widow of France's King Henry IV. The grand residence, modeled after Florence's Pitti Palace, now serves as home to the French Senate, and the garden, which has undergone many changes over the years, is one the city's most beloved public parks.

Luxembourg Garden has a mix of features, including French- and English-style layouts, fountains, and over 100 statues. It has appeared in plays, paintings, and novels, including Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, John Singer Sargent's In the Luxembourg Gardens, and William Faulkner's Sanctuary. Although it is famous for its spring flowers and a pond where children sail model wood boats in the summer, I have come to appreciate how beautiful -- and dramatically different -- the park is throughout the year.


Flowers blooming in early spring, before the potted, warm-weather plants have been brought outside.


The summer setup includes a childrens' pool, sandpits, and ubiquitous palms.


The garden in summer.


A view transformed by fall colors.


The Luxembourg Garden's Medici Fountain, moved to its current location in the 1860s.

See more images of Luxembourg Palace.

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