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How to Visit Gardens in Paris
By:Barbara Dunlap

Paris is filled with gorgeous settings, but nothing surpasses the parks and gardens. There's something about strolling through the Tuileries Garden and looking out over the Seine that brings out the romantic in almost everyone. Stop by a park to hear a concert, have a picnic and join in Parisian life.

Start at the Jardin des Tuileries, an integral part of the city's landscape that stretches from the Louvre museum to the Place de la Concorde. The beautiful garden features symmetrical plantings, water features and sculpture by Rodin and Maillol. Don't miss the two museums in the garden--Musee de l'Orangerie and the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume (see Resources).

Visit the Jardin du Luxembourg, which includes Luxembourg Palace (home of the French Senate). The beautiful grounds feature geometric plantings, statues and sculptures, a pond for miniature boats, children's play areas and a gazebo for concerts. Stroll in the park, watch a chess game or seek out the two lovely fountains, the Fontaine de Medicis and the Fontaine de l'Observatoire.

Stop in at the major botanical garden, the Jardin des Plantes. It includes a rose garden, an alpine garden, a collection of medicinal plants, a section for irises and climbing plants and more. Look for the labyrinth with a gazebo at its center. The garden also contains the National Museum of Natural History, an aquarium and a small zoo.

Visit two major wooded areas on the outskirts of Paris. To the east, you'll find the Bois de Vincennes with its chateau and four lovely lakes. Head to Parc Floral, which features hundreds of plant varieties plus contemporary sculptures. To the west of Paris is the Bois de Boulogne that includes lakes, waterfalls, a fun children's area and more. Only visit the Bois de Boulogne during the day; after dark, it becomes a red light district.

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