Luxembourg Gardens, 14th Arr.
Concierge.com's insider take:
On that inevitable day when you don't want to go to a museum and you're sick of shopping, come to the Luxembourg Gardens. Quite simply, there's no better people-watching in Paris, and it changes all day long. In the morning, you'll see joggers, early tennis players, dog-walkers, and students; around 11 a.m. or so, a more mature crowd arrives—elegantly dressed women out for a stroll, men playing chess or checkers in the northwest corner—along with nannies pushing baby carriages and scolding toddlers. At noon, secretaries from the surrounding art galleries and publishing houses come to picnic, followed by academics carrying heavy books and heading for the park's quietest corners. By afternoon, all of Paris is present, and the genius of this park becomes undeniable—you can do everything from riding a merry-go-round or a pony to learning how to keep bees (a beekeeping school produces honey for the French Sénat, which occupies the palace on the park's northern flank). Just south of the park on the Rue d'Assas is in one our favorite little museums: Musée Zadkine, the former home and studio of Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine. Zadkine ran with the wild, absinthe-swilling Montparnasse crowd of the early 20th century; as interesting as his stylized figures in bronze and marble is the studio itself, which rambles around a leafy garden court and gives a glimpse of what the artists' colony of the Left Bank—made famous by Picasso, Modigliani, et al—was like (100 bis Rue d'Assas; 33-1-55-42-77-20; www.zadkine.paris.fr; closed Mon.).
Open daily from dawn to dusk (but never before 7 a.m.).