The Tuileries Gardens are located on the north side of the River Seine in Paris. Originally commissioned by the Queen consort of France Catherine de' Medici, they were subsequently redesigned in the French formal style by André Le Nôtre. Le Nôtre, the celebrated landscape gardener of the Sun King, best known for his design of the gardens at the Palace of Versailles built a terrace along the riverbank and opened up a central axis which he extended three years later with the creation of the Champs-Elysées. Much like the Luxembourg gardens, the gardens are distinguished by the influence of the Medici family. The gardens are filled with dramatic statuary and perfectly symmetrical shrubbery, reflecting the Renaissance preoccupation with bringing rational design to nature. The gardens have long been popular with families taking their Sunday walk, although nowadays, the chairs placed around the fountains are often occupied by tourists resting after a tour of the Louvre Palace or one of the smaller galleries in the gardens:
- Musée du jeu de Paume on the northern (terrasse des Feuillants) side.
- The Orangerie.
Every year between 21 June and 25 August a fun fair is held with the big wheel towering over the rue de Rivoli.
The Da Vinci Code
The two main characters in the novel "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown are involved in a series of adventures. Symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu make their escape from the local police through the Jardins des Tuileries. As they drive their car through the gardens, the comment is made that it's the one location in Paris from which it is possible to see the Musée d'Orsay, the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre... but is this correct? It's true that the location of the gardens makes them an easy diversion for tourists from the historic and cultural centres.
The Tuileries Palace was the chief residence of Napoleon I, Emperor of France.
- 1664 - Le Nôtre asked to redesign the Tuileries Gardens.
- 1789 - The salle de Manège which received the Assemblée Nationale rose up followed by the other revolutionary assemblies.
- 23 May 1871 - During the suppression of the Paris Commune, twelve men under the orders of a Commune extremist, Dardelle, set the Tuileries on fire at 7 pm, using petroleum, liquid tar, and turpentine. The fire lasted for 48 hours and entirely consumed the palace. It was only on May 25 that the Paris fire brigades and the 26th battalion of the Africa Chasseurs managed to put out the fire. Other portions of the Louvre were also set on fire by Commune extremists and entirely destroyed.