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Jardin du Luxembourg

Located in the sixth arrondissement, the Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the most popular gardens in Paris– and with good reason! A calming oasis of trees, flowerbeds, fountains, ponds and sculpture, the park is a magnet for locals and tourists alike and also features tennis courts, pony rides, a marionette theatre and open-air cafes.

Here are some interesting facts about this wonderful park:

* The local's nickname for the garden is "Luco".

* The gardens were just 8 hectares, but additional land was purchased over the years to grow this to more than 22 hectares, making it one of the largest in Paris.

* The park takes it's name from it's original owner, the Duke of Luxemburg.

* Following Henri IV's assassination in 1610, his wife, Marie de Medicis, couldn't bear to continue living in the Louvre without him. Buying the property in 1612, she set about recreating the Palais du Luxembourg and the surrounding gardens in the style of her childhood home, Florence's Palazzo Pitti.

* The widowed queen did not get the time to enjoy her new palace and gardens for long as she was banished by Richelieu in 1625, before the palace was completed.

* The park is the garden of the French Senate, which is housed in the the Palais du Luxembourg.

* In 1794, during the French Revolution, the palace was used as a prison.

* As a struggling and starving artist, Ernest Hemingway would visit the gardens before dinner to catch pigeons and take them home to eat.

* In December 1815, Marshal of France Michel Ney was executed there by firing squad after being convicted of treason for joining Napoléon Bonaparte during the Hundred Days.

* The garden contains just over a hundred statues, monuments, and fountains scattered throughout the grounds.

* The first model of the Statue of Liberty is found there.