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The Madeline Connection

Madeline, her 11 friends and Miss Clavel are frequently shown walking in the Tuileries Garden. This particular illustration is from Madeline, and is accompanied by the text, "One nice morning Miss Clavel said, ‘Isn’t this a fine –‘". This is another of Bemelmans' drawings that doesn’t match up with the modern-day site, but has many recognizable elements, among them the western end of the Louvre, the circular fountain and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. The fountain and the Arch, an 1808 marble monument built by Napoléon I to celebrate some of his war victories, can easily be compared to those seen in the illustration.

Things Kids Might Like to Know

The queen (Catherine de Médicis) who had these gardens (and a palace) constructed was from the same Italian family as the queen that later had the Luxembourg Gardens built (Marie de Médicis). Catherine was the mother of seven children, and three of the boys grew up to become the king of France. Royal families lived in the palace here off and on for several hundred years until finally the palace burned down.

At the western edge of the garden, near the Place de la Concorde, is a huge statue of two winged horses, which were installed there in 1719 – the horses are named Fama and Mercury. Just as at the Luxembourg Gardens, children can rent sailboats here to sail on the ponds.

One exciting thing that took place here (beside the Octagonal Fountain) was the first human ascent in a hot-air (hydrogen) balloon – in 1783! Thousands of people came to the park to watch the balloon lift up into the air more than 2,000 feet and sail off 25 miles to the north of Paris. Now, every year on New Year’s Day, a special car race that goes across Europe and Africa (the Paris-Dakar overland motor race) begins here at the Tuileries Gardens.

For Grown-ups to Know

The Tuileries Gardens are extensive, covering 25 hectares (about 63 acres) between the Carrousel du Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. They are seventeenth-century formal gardens which were (along with a palace) commissioned by Catherine de Médicis (wife of Henry II) in 1564. Featuring a jogging path, fountains, 3 cafés, statuary, seating and offering both sun and shade, the gardens have long been a favorite place to relax for both Parisians and tourists alike.

The Musée de l'Orangeries des Tuileries and the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume are two small museums that are located at the eastern end of the Gardens. The Musée de l'Orangeries houses the Walter-Guillaume Collection, a display of 144 Impressionist masterworks, including Claude Monet's Les Grands Nymphéas. The Musée de Jeu de Paume is a similarly small museum which hosts changing exhibitions by contemporary artists and offers various workshops and art-related activities for adults and children.

Location: Bordered to the north by the Rue de Rivoli and to the south by the Quai des Tuileries along the banks of the river Seine in the 1ER arrondissement.

Métro: Tuileries, #1 Concorde, #8 and #12.

RER: Line C Invalides, Musée d'Orsay.

Bus: 21, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95 (many stopping at the Louvre)

Hours of Operation: Open daily April-September from 7am-9pm and October-March from 7:30am-7:30pm. Closing starts 30 minutes before official time.


The famous tea salon, Angélina, has no connection at all to the Madeline book series, other than their shared status as Parisian icons. Opened in 1903, the Viennese-style salon de thé was once known as Rumplemayer’s, after founder Antoine Rumplemayer. Decorated in a heavily gilded Belle Epoque style that might feel over-the-top to many, it’s a magical place to well-mannered young ladies of a certain age, as well as their more mature Parisian soul-sisters.

Best known for their special hot chocolate, Le Chocolate Africain and the unbelievably rich Le Mont Blanc (the house specialty, made with meringue, whipped cream and chestnut cream topping), they also serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.

Located at 226, Rue de Rivoli, between Rues d’Alger and de Castiglione, the restaurant is the perfect place to stop when visiting the Louvre museum or Tuileries Gardens. The same elegant nineteenth-century Rue de Rivoli arcades that house Angélina are also home to a mixture of bookshops, elegant boutiques, luxury hotels and tourist-enticing souvenir shops.

Open Monday – Saturday 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Also closed Tuesdays in August.

Métro – Tuileries, #1