These beautiful gardens stretch along the River Seine from the Louvre Museum
to the Place de la Concorde and are a popular promenade for Parisians and
tourists alike. With more than 10 individual gardens—all named after
kings—the Tuileries Gardens feature several fountains, numerous sculptures,
and two museums. Their central location means they forms a part of the grand
central horizontal axis in Paris which leads all the
way from the Louvre to La Défense, the business district.
The gardens were conceived by Catherine de' Medici in 1559 after the death
of her husband, Henry ll. She decided to build the Palais de Tuileries for
herself and her son, François II. She commissioned a Florentine landscape
architect to design an Italian Renaissance garden with fountains, a labyrinth, a
grotto, and countless statues. The area acquired for the gardens had been
previously occupied by workshops making tiles for roofs (tuileries), hence the
name of the gardens.
In the 1660s, the garden was redesigned by André Le Nôtre—the same
gardener who designed the gardens at Versailles Palace—in the French formal
style. And it is this architectural splendor that remains to this day, with
manicured lawns, neat rows of chestnut trees, and fantastic statues scattered
The Jardin des Tuileries was one of the first parks to open to the public
and, even in the 18th century, had cafés, deck chairs, and public toilets. At
this time, the gardens were enlarged and used for celebrations and public
holidays and it soon became a place to be seen. By the 19th century, it became
open to the wider public. But much unrest, including the Fourth French
Revolution, the Paris Commune in 1871 in which the palace was destroyed, and
two world wars, meant the gardens have been closed and reopened a number of
times, most recently only becoming “free” again after the Second World War.
They are in a constantly evolving state, with new statues still being
added—each president contributing.
Two outstanding museums stand at the western end of the park near the Place
de la Concorde; the Musée de l'Orangerie, displaying Monet's famous water
lilies, and the Jeu de Paume, displaying various contemporary images. There are
many restaurants serving lunch or tea throughout the gardens and plenty of space
to wander, things to marvel at, and places to lounge in the Parisian
The gardens are situated on the rue de Rivoli from Place du Carrousel to
Place de la Concorde and the closest Métro stops are Place de la Concorde,
Tuileries, and Palais Royale-Musée du Louvre. Open daily, the gardens are not
far from the Louvre Museum and the Musée d’Orsay, and will form a fantastic
part of your stay in Paris.
April - May: 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.
June - August: 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.
September - March: 7:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Admission is free.