Plunge into the green spaces and history of the oldest and biggest park in Paris.
The Jardin des Tuileries, which defines the axis of the Champs-Élysées, is an ideal place for a walk in the heart of Paris. Famous museums and squares are located at the four cardinal points of the Garden: the Louvre Museum, the Musée d'Orsay, the Champs-Élysées, the Place Vendôme and the Palais Garnier. In the park are the Musée du Jeu de Paume, which hosts contemporary art exhibitions, and the Musée de l'Orangerie with Monet's Water Lilies.
The history of the Tuileries Garden
The history of the Jardin des Tuileries is intimately linked to the history of France. This royal garden, which separates the Louvre Museum from the Place de la Concorde, is the largest and oldest garden in Paris. It takes its name from the earth used to make tiles. In 1564, Catherine de Médicis had a "Palais des Tuileries" built, which was destroyed during the Commune fires of 1871, and which included a Florentine garden. Under Louis XIV, the garden was remodelled " à la française " by André Le Nôtre, the landscape gardener of Versailles. The Sun King finally preferred to house his court at Versailles, so the gardens were opened to the public. They thus became the first public park in Paris and in Europe. A popular place, the Gardens hosted the sumptuous parties of Catherine de Medici, the hunting parties of Louis XIII, the bloody episodes of the Revolution and the banquet of the 22,000 mayors of France.
A garden structured in 4 areas
Four large areas structure the garden. The Grand Carré is the former private garden of the kings. It leads to the Louvre Museum. The ponds, flowerbeds and large lawns adorned with 19th century sculptures have been redesigned according to Le Nôtre's plans. The Grand Couvert, the wooded part of the garden, can be considered the green lung of Paris: more than 2000 trees occupy the heart of the park. The Concorde entrance and the Fer à Cheval, to the west of the Garden, form a majestic entrance from which one can enjoy a direct view of the Louvre Palace and the glass Pyramid designed by Pei.
A real open-air museum
The Jardin des Tuileries is also a real open-air museum. It houses superb monuments and sculptures. Among the works on display are statues by Rodin such as Le Baiser, Coysevox and Carpeux, as well as more contemporary works by Ernst, Giacometti and Dubuffet with Le Bel Costumé.