The Tuileries Garden (in French, Jardin des Tuileries) is the most famous garden in Paris and one of the most pleasant places to stroll in the French capital. Located on the right bank of the River Seine, between Concorde Square and the Carrousel Garden, this green park also houses two important art museums (the Orangerie Museum and the Jeu de Paume National Gallery).
The history of the Tuileries Garden dates back to the 16th century when it was created in the Italian style at the request of Catherine de’ Medici, to beautify the area around the Tuileries Palace. A century later, the landscape architect André Le Nôtre (author of the gardens of the Palace of Versailles and the Palace of Fontainebleau) turned it into the current French garden, with symmetrical flower beds and decorative statues!
So, do you want to know How To Visit The Tuileries Garden In 2023? Keep reading!
No time to read now? Pin it for later!
- Brief History of the Tuileries Garden
- How to Get to the Tuileries Garden
- What to See at the Tuileries Garden
- More Posts about France
- More Posts about Gardens and Parks
- What Photography Gear Do I Use?
Brief History of the Tuileries Garden
In 1564, the then queen consort Catherine de’ Medici (widow of Henry II, King of France) ordered the construction of a new royal residence, on the site of old roof tile factories (in French, tuiles). And that’s how the curious name of the Palais des Tuileries (or Tuileries Palace) came about!
At the same time, the monarch called on Florentine landscape architect Bernard de Carnesse to design an Italian Renaissance garden adjacent to the palace. With 500 meters long and 300 meters wide, the Tuileries Garden had flower beds, lawns, vegetable gardens, vineyards, fountains, a labyrinth, and an artificial cave.
In the following reigns, the Tuileries Garden continued to be improved with orchards, parterres, a covered arbor, and a large ornamental pond, as well as paths for the royal family to stroll on foot or on horseback. However, none of these additions compares with the transformation carried out by André Le Nôtre, in 1664!
The personal landscape architect to King Louis XIV, André Le Nôtre revamped the Tuileries Garden as a “jardin à la française” – a formal garden style that he himself developed and had already implemented at the Palace of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Palace of Versailles, Palace of Chantilly, and Palace of Fontainebleau, among others.
French gardens are characterized by symmetry, order, and perspective. And the Tuileries Garden brought these three concepts together harmoniously, with flower beds forming geometric patterns, ornamental ponds with fountains in the center, paths flanked by large trees, and wide terraces with panoramic views!
How to Get to the Tuileries Garden
It couldn’t be easier to visit the Tuileries Garden. After all, this green park is located in the 1st arrondissement, the most central part of Paris! And to get there from anywhere else in the French capital, you just have to take the metro and get off at the “Tuileries” (line 1) or “Concorde” (lines 1, 8, and 12) stations.
Not only is the Tuileries Garden one of Paris’ must-see attractions, but it’s also within walking distance of other tourist sites, including the Luxor Obelisk (150 meters), Avenue des Champs Elysées (300 meters), the Orsay Museum (300 meters), the Vendôme Square (300 meters), the Louvre Museum (800 meters), the Royal Palace (800 meters), the Petit Palais (800 meters), the Grand Palais (900 meters), and the Alexander III Bridge (900 meters).
Opening Hours & Ticket Prices
The Tuileries Garden is open every day, but with different hours depending on the time of year: from 7 am to 9 pm (in April, May, and September), from 7 am to 11 pm (from June to August ), or from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm (from January to March, and from October to December).
Before your visit, I recommend that you confirm this practical information on the official website of the Louvre Museum. Either way, entry is free for everyone. And did you know that the Tuileries Garden is considered the oldest public garden in Paris?
What to See at the Tuileries Garden
Jardin du Carrousel
The Carrousel Garden (in French, Jardin du Carrousel) received its name in the reign of Louis XIV, after having been the scene of a parade of nobles on horseback, to celebrate the birth of his first child. In fact, the origin of the carousels from the popular fiars is also related to this type of ceremony!
When Napoleon Bonaparte settled in the Tuileries Palace in the early 19th century, he had a grand triumphal arch built, inspired by the Arch of Septimius Severus, to celebrate his victories.
Facing the Carrousel Square (where the Inverted Pyramid is hidden) and the Louvre Pyramid itself and Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel still serves as the gateway to the Carrousel Garden and the Tuileries Garden.
Grand Carré & Grand Bassin Rond
The Large Square (in French, Grand Carré) is the easternmost part of the Tuileries Garden, a few meters from the Carrousel Garden. Comprised of the Large Circular Pond (in French, Grand Bassin Rond) and two other smaller circular ornamental lakes, this section still features André Le Nôtre’s original layout.
If in the old days the Large Square was the king’s private garden, these days it’s the most popular place in the Tuileries Garden (due to its proximity to the Louvre Museum). Here, I suggest you relax in one of the many green iron chairs or take a walk to admire the various decorative statues and sculptures!
Grand Couvert & Grande Allée
The Great Covered (in French, Grand Couvert) is the most central part of the Tuileries Garden and also the most tree-covered.
In this area, you’ll find lawns decorated with statues and surrounded by trees, four cafés-restaurants with terraces, as well as two exedras from the time of the French Revolution.
The Great Covered is divided in half by the Great Way (in French, Grande Allée). Also called the Central Way (in French, Allée Centrale), this sidewalk integrates the famous “Axe historique” (an 8.5 km line of monuments, buildings, and public roads, which connects the Louvre Museum to the Great Arch of la Défense)!
Terrace & Esplanade des Feuillants
The Terrace of the Feuillants (in French, Terrace des Feuillants) and the Esplanade of the Feuillants (in French, Esplanade des Feuillants) are two paths parallel to Rivoli Street, which delimit the north side of the Tuileries Garden. According to historical records, the Esplanade already existed in the time of Henry IV (that is, at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century), when it was full of mulberry trees.
As for the Terrace, it was designed by André Le Nôtre, to separate the royal garden from an old Benedictine convent called Couvent des Feuillants (hence the name). After serving as an orchard for centuries, the Esplanade of the Feuillants was opened and is now used for outdoor events. The best known are the Tuileries Festival (in French, Fête des Tuileries) and the Tuileries Christmas Market (in French, Marché de Noël des Tuileries).
The Tuileries Festival takes place between the first week of July and the last week of August. Recreating the traditional popular fairs, the Esplanade of the Feuillants hosts around 60 attractions for all ages, in addition to food and toy stalls. The Tuileries Christmas Market runs from the end of November to the beginning of January and follows the concept of “European Christmas markets”, with themed rides and kiosks with hot drinks and souvenirs.
Bassin Octogonal & Fer à Cheval
Anyone arriving at the Tuileries Garden from Concorde Square has to pass through the monumental gates designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, in the year 1757.
Personal architect of King Louis XV, Ange-Jacques Gabriel was also the author of the Concorde Square’s design, the largest square in Paris and the second-largest in France (after the Quinconces Square in Bordeaux)!
First called Louis XV Square (in French, Place Louis XV) and later Revolution Square (in French, Place de la Révolution), Concorde Square is perfectly aligned with Madeleine Church (to the north), the Tuileries Gardens (to the east), the River Seine (to the south), and the Champs-Elysées Avenue (to the west).
Once past the western gates of the Tuileries Garden, you’ll find the Octogonal Lake (in French, Bassin Octogonal), where children race in miniature boats in the warmer months. And, on either side of this entrance, there are two horseshoe-shaped ramps (or “fer à cheval”), which lead visitors to the Jeu de Paume National Gallery (to the north) and the Orangerie Museum (to the south).
Galérie Nationale du Jeu de Paume
The Jeu de Paume National Gallery (in French, Galérie Nationale du Jeu de Paume) is an art center dedicated to photography and multimedia from the 20th and 21st centuries. This museum also used to have a collection of Impressionist works created in 1947, which have been transferred to the Orsay Museum in the meantime.
The building where the art gallery was established dates from the 1860s when Emperor Napoleon III was in power. Initially, the pavilion was used to practice the palm game (in French, jeu de paume), a racket sport from which tennis derives. Nowadays, it’s known as real tennis or court tennis.
Located on the northwest end of the Tuileries Garden and in perfect symmetry with the Orangerie Museum (which is on the southwest end), the Jeu de Paume National Gallery was transformed into a contemporary art museum after the First World War, having served as an extension to the Louvre Museum, the Orangerie Museum, and the Luxembourg Museum before becoming an independent institution.
Musée de l’Orangerie
The Orangerie Museum (in French, Musée de l’Orangerie) started out as a greenhouse, built to house the orange trees of the Tuileries Palace, in 1852. With the fall of the Second Empire of Napoleon III in 1870 and the fire that destroyed the palace the following year, the Orangerie (or “Orange Grove”), became state property.
Decades later, the statesman Georges Clemenceau suggested that the series of paintings “Les Nymphéas”, donated by Claude Monet to the State, should be exhibited at the Orangerie. Therefore, the artist designed two oval rooms, with natural light and forming the symbol of infinity, to display the eight panels of “Water Lilies”.
The so-called Musée Claude Monet was inaugurated by Georges Clemenceau himself on May 17th, 1927, after the death of the impressionist painter. Later, the art gallery was annexed to the Musée du Luxembourg and formally renamed Musée National de l’Orangerie des Tuileries.
Read my complete guide to the Orangerie Museum, which includes all the practical information (access, opening hours, and prices) and a list of the must-see works of art in this art gallery!
Share this blog post on your social media!