Jardin des Tuileries

The Jardin des Tuileries, the Tuileries Garden, located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, and right next to the Seine, is one of the most popular gardens in the whole of Paris. This is not only attributed to their perfect location, but the large acreage, and design work carried out in the garden. It’s a place where Parisians relax, meet and get entertained.

The Jardin des Tuileries is one of the earlier gardens built in Paris, and it started out as a royal residence in the mid 16th century. Queen Catherine de Medicis, widow of Henry II wanted a garden modelled to her liking near the Louvre Palace. She acquired the area then called the Tuileries, which was used for tile making. With an inspiration from Florence in Italy, a landscape architect was commissioned to create an Italian garden. From then on, the garden was royal property, being modelled and landscaped, and passed down through the generations, until 1667 when it was first opened to the public. The Palais des Tuileries, a royal residence situated at the garden was destroyed in 1870. It was thought that the unobstructed view created when the Tuileries Palace was torn down was inspiring, and the palace was not reconstructed. The site where it used to stand was incorporated into the garden. From the beginning of the 20th century, the gardens were the place to be, with the cafes and restaurants, and the entertainments available for the Parisians.

The garden has been well maintained since after the end of the world wars. New, modern sculptures were added in the 1960s to replace the dated ones that had seemingly overstayed at the garden. In the late 1990s, into 2000, contemporary sculptures were added.

Today, the Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most ideal places to spend an afternoon in the whole of Paris. The garden has a wealth of sculptural works located throughout the garden. There are also two museums present at the gardens. The Orangerie, which was part of the royal property, was converted to the Musee de l’Orangerie. Initially, it was used as a greenhouse for the fragile orange trees during the cold season of winter. Now, it houses impressionist paintings of Walter and Guillaume, as well as the large Nympheas by Claude Monet. The Jeu de Paume has been transformed to the Musee du Jeu de Paume, which exhibits contemporary art. It was initially used as a tennis court by Napoleon, and that is where its name was derived from. These are the only two remnant buildings in the garden, after the palace was destroyed.

Being ranked as one of the best parks in the world, the Jardin des Tuileries is a compelling place to be. With its vastness, coupled with the serenity of its environment, which is not tainted even when there are Parisians and tourists around, the gardens provide relaxation, hard to come by in a city so busy. Its sculptural masterpieces, most of them contemporary provide a stream of inspiration to any art student and lover. There are numerous fountains, most notably the central one on the large square. Seats are available, should you want to simply sit and relax.

The recent footbridge created over the Seine gives you direct access to the Musee d’Orsay which is on the right bank of the Seine. The Louvre is next to the garden as well, should you be ready for the challenge of exploring Paris’s largest museum. The Rue de Rivoli on the northern side is a busy street, lined with fashionable brands, and so is les Champs Elysees, which is just past the place de la Concorde.