Looking for a refreshing break after walking around the French capital? Head for the Tuileries Garden!
Located in the heart of the 1st arrondissement of Paris, it is the largest and oldest French garden in Paris, a.k.a. the City of Light.
The highlight of the visit? the guide trees and delightful water features,
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Paris? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the capital. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Are you looking for a hotel in Paris? Feel free to have a look at the Captain’s recommendations: Where to sleep in Paris? Tips & recommendations
The Tuileries Garden in a few words
Heading to the heart of the 1st arrondissement of Paris
The Tuileries Garden is located in the center of Paris, a stone’s throw from the Place Vendôme, the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée des arts décoratifs.
The Tuileries Garden is bordered:
- To the northwest by the Place de la Concorde
- To the southeast by the Louvre Palace
- To the northeast by the Rue de Rivoli
- To the southwest by the Seine
This small oasis of greenery is part of the Unesco World Heritage site of the banks of the Seine. The Tuileries Garden is also classified as a historical monument.
tBrief history of the Tuileries Garden
The origins of the Tuileries Garden
At the beginning of the 16th century, François I had thought of building a palace on the vast grounds occupied by tile factories (tuileries) since the 12th century, but it was only a few decades later that Catherine de Médicis moved foward with the project.
From 1564 onwards, the queen mother oversaw the construction of a vast palace – the Palais des Tuileries – which included an Italian garden with a grotto and a menagerie.
The Tuileries Garden under Louis XIV
A century after its construction, Louis XIV and Colbert – one of the king’s main ministers – had the garden completely redesigned and transformed into a French garden. This heavy task was entrusted to none other than André Le Nôtre, the king’s famous gardener, famous for designing the gardens of Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte and Chantilly.
Although Colbert originally intended to limit access to the garden to the royal family, the writer Charles Perrault convinced him to open it to all Parisians.
The Tuileries garden has thus been accessible to all from the end of the 17th century. The garden now houses restaurants and cafes. Strollers can also lounge on the many chairs and loungers scattered throughout the Tuileries.
🌹 Italian style gardens and French style gardens 🌹
Italian gardens appeared in the region of Florence during the Renaissance. Strictly ordered, they are set on sloping grounds and are lined with statues, water features and decorative elements.
Popularized by André Le Nôtre, French gardens were inspired by Italian gardens, but are distinguished from them by their more symmetrical and geometric layout. Unlike their model, they are set on flat grounds. They represent the triumph of order disorder and of culture over nature.
The Tuileries Garden in the 19th century
In the 19th century, Napoleon III – nephew of Napoleon I and emperor from 1852 to 1870 – ordered the construction of:
- An orangery (which now houses the Musée de l’Orangerie)
- A “jeu de paume” (which today houses the Jeu de Paume Museum) where palm game – the precursor of tennis – was played.
In 1871, the Tuileries Palace was destroyed in a fire during the Paris Commune, before being razed in 1883. There remains no trace of the palace today.
The Tuileries Garden today
Nowadays, the Tuileries Garden is a favourite’s of Parisians and visitors alike.
At the end of the 1990s and again in 2016, modern and contemporary sculptures were erected in the garden, alongside the classical sculptures already on display.
Twice a year, during Fashion Week, the Tuileries Garden hosts fashion shows in large tents set up for the occasion.
Visiting the Tuileries Garden
Strolling around the Tuileries garden
The Tuileries Garden is laid out around a vast tree-lined central avenue linking the Place de la Concorde to the Louvre Palace. It is delimited near the Louvre by a vast round basin and on near the Place de la Concorde by a large octagonal basin.
The garden is flanked on either side by two vast terraces designed by André Le Nôtre: the Terrasse du bord de l’eau along the quays of the Seine and the Terrasse des feuillants along the rue de Rivoli.
While the Tuileries Garden is pleasant all year round, it is particularly delightful during in spring and summer, when it is covered with fragrant flowers.
The statues of the Tuileries Garden
In the purest tradition of French gardens, the Tuileries Garden are dotted with statues of all kinds, some classical, others resolutely contemporary.
You will find contemporary sculptures to the east of the gardens, including works by iconic artists such as Rodin, Roy Lichtenstein, Alberto Giacometti, Max Ernst, Henry Moore and Jean Dubuffet.
The museums of the Tuileries Garden
You will find in the Tuileries Garden two of Captain Ulysses’ favorite museums in Paris:
- the Musée de l’Orangerie – housed in a former orangery, this beautiful museum opened in the 1920s to house Claude Monet’s famous Water Lilies. The museum’s collections were later enriched by the Walter-Guillaume Collection, bringing together works by some of the most emblematic impressionist and post-impressionist artists: Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet, Sisley, Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Marie Laurencin, le Douanier Rousseau, Derain and Soutine.
For more info, be sure to take a look at the detailed article of Captain Ulysses dedicated to the Musée de l’Orangerie.
⚠️ Reservation required ⚠️
From now on, visitors must book their tickets to the Musée de l’Orangerie online.
Book your ticket: tickets to the Musée de l’Orangerie OR Paris Museum Pass
- The Jeu de Paume Arts Center – this former “gymnasium” where 19th century athletes came to play “jeu de paume”, the precursor of tennis has been converted into a beautiful exhibition space displaying wonderful temporary photo exhibitions. Among the exhibitions organized in recent years are Gary Winogrand, Dorothea Lange and Philippe Halsman.
Gourmet break in the Jardin des Tuileries
Need a break? You’ll find two cafés and two restaurants in the Tuileries Garden.
That said, be warned, the area is posh and touristy: not the best value for money.
The Fêtes des Tuileries
Every year, in July and August, the Jardin des Tuileries gets into the summer spirit with the Tuileries Festival.
Fairground amusements (trampoline, chamboultout, bumper cars, rifle shooting, merry-go-round…) as well as food stalls (cotton candy, Italian ice cream, love apples, pancakes…) set up shop in the garden.
The entrance is free, but the attractions are of course chargeable. The Tuileries Festival is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 11:45 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 am to 12:45 am.
Getting to the Tuileries Garden
The Jardin des Tuileries is located in the heart of the1st arrondissement of Paris, a stone’s throw from some of the capital’s most emblematic monuments: the Louvre Museum, the Place Vendôme, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Musée d’Orsay.
As for public transportation, the Jardin des Tuileries is easily accessible from the Concorde (lines 1, 8 and 12) and Tuileries (line 1) stations.
Numerous buses (lines 42, 45, 52, 72, 73, 84, 94, Concorde stop) – as well as hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tours – also stop near the museum.
Opening hours of the Tuileries Garden
The Tuileries Garden is open every day. The opening hours vary according to the season:
- from the last Sunday of September to the last Saturday of March: 7:30am-7:30pm
- from the last Sunday of March to the end of May: 7am-9pm
- in June, July and August: 7am-11pm
- from September1st to the last Saturday of September: 7am-9pm.
Access to the Tuileries Garden is free. All the more reason to stop by!
👉 Skip the lines in Paris: book your tickets and tours in advance!
Looking for advice and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: Looking for an accommodation in Paris? Good news: there are plenty of options in the French capital. To book your hotel in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends the website Booking.com. From cheap hostels to luxury palaces, you’ll have plenty of options to chose from. As for the localisation, it depends both on your budget and on what you’re looking for. If you can’t afford staying in the most expensive areas of the capital, the Captain recommends that you look for a hotel in the 12th or 13th arrondissements: they’re not as central, but are very well connected to the centre of Paris. The Buttes au Cailles, which looks just like a small village, is one of the Captain’s favourite neighbourhoods in Paris. If you’d rather stay in a chic and sophisticated hotel, here are the best 3 options according to the Captain: the St. James , the Dokhan’s and the Metropolitan .
🎟️ Activities : in order to book skip-the-line tickets, tours and activities in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends GetYourGuide and Civitatis. Guided tours, entrance tickets, cruises, unusual activities: there’s plenty to chose from. If you want to avoid queuing to get into museums and monuments, the Captain suggests opting for skip-the-line tickets.
⛵ City cruises: Can you really visit Paris without going on a cruise on the Seine? The Captain loves sailing on the river and admiring the emblematic monuments of the French capital, especially at nightfall. You will find a large selection of cruises in Paris here.
🎫 City cards : If you’re planning on staying in Paris for a few days, you should definitely consider investing in a city card giving access to the capital’s top museums and landmarks. which includes access to the most famous monuments in Paris.
🚐 Transfers: the parisian airports are located outside the city and getting to the city centre can be quite expensive.
If your budget is tight, the Captain recommends the RATP shuttles that will drop you off at Opera if you’re coming from Roissy airport and at Denfert-Rochereau if you’re coming from Orly airport.
But for a few extra euros, you can book a transfer that will take you directly to your hotel.
If you are traveling in a group, this option is all the more interesting. Find out more here.
🚌 Transports: While you’ll be able to explore part of the city on foot, you will have to use the parisian public transports to explore some of the capital’s landmarks. In order to avoid accumulating (and losing) metro tickets, the Captain recommends opting for an unlimited transport pass. You can buy it directly at in any metro station.
Open tour buses (audioguides included) are also a good option.
If you’d rather explore Paris on a boat, you will love the batobus, a river shuttle on the Seine !
✈️ Flights, trains & buses : Good news: getting to Paris is quite easy! If you’re planning on flying to the capital, the Captain recommends Skyscanner, an online comparator which is perfect for finding the best deals. If your dates are flexible, you can even compare prices over several weeks. Paris is also easily accessible by train and bus. To book your tickets, the Captain highly recommends Omio, which integrates the offer of 207 train and bus companies in 44 countries.
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