After the assassination of Henry IV in 1610 Marie de Medicis decided that as Regent she deserved a better type of palace. Styled after Marie's ancestral home in Florence (the Palazzo Pitti) building started in 1615 and lasted 30 years.
The southern facade of the Palais du Luxembourg
It has been extensively and frequently remodelled since then. It is now the home of the French Senate, and sits in the extensive (23 hectare, or 56 acre) Jardin du Luxembourg. The garden is lovely, and contains many statues (including the 20 notable ladies), playgrounds, a marionette theatre, restaurants and kiosks, tennis courts, basketball courts, and an art gallery. It also has "chalets de nécessité" - their term, not mine.
We visited the garden in September this year, and can thoroughly recommend it as something to do in Paris. The official site is here.
"chalets de nécessité" Never come across that one before but its great.
A paternal cousin was a longue paume player and, in the late twenties and early thirties, my father used to take me to the Jardin du Luxembourg to see him play. There was a longue paume court there then. I wonder if it is still existent.
Chalets de nécessité, not to be mistaken with vespasiennes for men only, were all over the place in Paris at a time. I think they took the name chalet because they were free standing small houses, tended by a Madame Pipi! Nécessité is self explaining! I don't think they still exist as such, probably being replaced by more modern structures.
Le Jardin du Luxembourg is known as le Luco by the students of the Quartier latin.
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