Seating hierarchy in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Parisians take their sunshine and relaxation verrrry seriously. At the first sign of glorious springtime weather they come out in full force to lounge, picnic, and lounge some more. Every square inch (or should I say meter) of every park is packed, and those folks won’t hesitate to pull up a chair or a blanket right next to you (or heck, just sit right on your blanket) if that seems like prime real estate.

And who can blame them? If you’re going to be lounging, you want the best spot. And the best seat. And what the common American tourist might not know is that not all seats in the Jardin du Luxembourg were born equal.

No sir. There’s a strict hierarchy out there, and if you’re not quick, you’ll end up perched uncomfortably on the stairs avoiding eye contact with the park guards instead of basking smugly in a recliner.

Thankfully, I’m here to educate you on your seating options, if you should ever find yourself strolling through the 6th on a sunny day. Your best approach is to make a few laps, scoping out your options and jumping on the best available chaise. If it’s a particularly crowded day or you’re just unlucky, you might get stuck with the lowliest of seats:

The Bench

Found mostly under the shady, treelined sides of the park, the benches are a last resort. You’re either too far away from prime people watching, bombarded by noise from the playground or tennis courts, or under serious threat from the pigeons up above.

If you feel like fighting your way through crowds of Science Po students talking philosphy, the next step up is:

The Lawn

This small landing strip of grass down the center of the park is actually the only place you can sit on the ground. It’s sunny and bright, but super crowded. And there’s no back support.

If that doesn’t sound appealing, walk towards the fountains and see if you can score a:

Green Chair (without arms)

These sleek metal beauties are scattered throughout the park, but you’ll find the highest concentration of them right at the main fountain’s edge. There’s no arm support, but this is a huge step up from benches and grass.

But don’t stop there, keep looking for a:

Green Chair (with arms)

Just when you thought your green chair (without arms) was the pinnacle of comfort, you spy the couple next to you relaxing with arm rests. And they’re using the armless version for a mere footrest.

So you get one, and feel like you’ve just conquered the world. Except once you’re happily ensconced with your arm rests right by the fountain, you’ll notice that true nirvana still awaits in the form of a:

Reclining Green Chair With Arms

Never mind if there are twenty loud, smoking teenagers eating MacDo next to you. This is the be all end all of park seating. Old ladies have been known to drag one of these puppies to a corner of sunshine, strip to near-skivvies, and hunker down until sunset. And I highly advise that you do the same. Except for the skivvies part, of course.


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