I like to stay in Paris somewhere close to Montparnasse.
Lately I have been staying at the Belle Juliette on the Rue du Cherche-Midi which interestingly enough is a fabulous French phrase that my Parisian friend, Claire, explained to me. To “chercher midi à quatorze heures” means to complicate things.
From this delightful 4-star boutique hotel with a lovely garden, it’s a short walk past antique stores and tiny cafes to the Luxembourg Gardens.
The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, apart from the obvious reasons of sightseeing, the splendid palace, and the history attached to it, is simply one of the great outdoor gymnasiums.
A run around the perimeter inside of the gardens is just under two miles. The surface is pleasant, the people watching is amazing, the flora and the fauna is over the top and you can barely believe you are smack in the center of the Latin Quarter.
The gardens are jammed between the Boulevard Saint-Michel and Sorbonne area, the Odéon and the Saint-Sulpice, and the longest road in Paris, the Rue du Vaugirard. In the center of the gardens, there are beautiful clay tennis courts that are not terribly busy, donkey rides, petanque games, and a scattering of benches that are used for exercise. In between all of this there is a beautiful pond where children can rent miniature sail boats. There is a kids swimming pool that is sometimes taken over by adults that should know better. There is a plethora of olive green chairs scattered everywhere for people to sit, read, and enjoy what has been there for centuries. There are apple trees, oleander trees, and a miniature model of the Statue of Liberty. Ironically in the Luxembourg Gardens there is not a lot of grass and most grass is protected by signs telling you to stay off of it.
This is one of the greatest parks in all of the world for a jog, walk, or quiet moment relaxing in one of the chairs.
Paris takes your breath away again.