Most people have a few “must see” places in Paris — the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre — but Jardin du Luxembourg, the most beautiful large garden in Paris, is a must-see as well. Plan to spend hours here — even just 2-3 for your kids to play at the park — walking, gazing, or reading in one of the many lawn chairs available to sit down and lounge in for as long as you like.
Within the garden, there are ornate sculptures that easily could be in the Louvre (including a smaller Statue of Liberty), the Medici Fountain built by Marie de Medici, the widow of King Henry IV, and many grand fountains, including one where you can rent little wooden sailboats for children to play with (and adults too). There is also an enclosed children’s park, where the you can pay a small admission fee and your kids can run around (under parents’ supervision) with the safety of a secured exit. There are also basketball courts, tennis courts, a théâtre des marionnettes, and the Musée du Luxembourg which features some of the best executed art exhibitions in Paris.The garden is great for people watching, taking photos, or just experiencing Paris as it is. There are even little stands to buy lunch or snacks, including crêpes, ice cream, candy, toys and other goodies for the kids. Near the museum you will find men playing chess and backgammon — it is a pick up game so any one can play if they want.
As the garden is not very large, it can take just 10-15 minutes to walk from one end to the other. Since it’s situated in the heart of the 6th arrondissement, you are also close to other great shopping areas, and (gasp) there is a McDonald’s just across the street, but so is Dallayou, a famed gastronomy shop, that has been in business for over 200 years. See http://www.dalloyau.fr/Anglais/b_luxembourg.html.
Also check for outdoor concerts, as in the summer and spring there are several scheduled events that you don’t want to miss. La Fête de la Musique, the Paris-wide annual concert which officially rings in summer, is a pretty sure bet for a free concert, and later in the summer there are often outdoor operas.
Jardin du Luxembourg is great to visit any time of year, rain, sunshine or snow, and it is a “must see” destination for children, parents, lovers, friends, or singles — as without seeing Jardin du Luxembourg, you have not truly seen Paris.