Paris may not have a huge park right in its midst like New York’s Central Park, but it does have an abundance of green spaces, many of which were created or renovated in the second half of the nineteenth century by the landscape architect and civil engineer Jean-Charles Alphand. Among them, we find the Parc Montsouris and the Jardins du Luxembourg on the Left Bank and the Parc Monceau, Bois de Vincennes and the Parc des Buttes Chaumont on the Right Bank. The last of these won the popular vote as the perfect spot for a Parisian picnic on a beautiful sunny afternoon. The Hotel Daunou Opera offers a brief guide to this delightful location!
Twenty-five hectares of greenery and sparkling water
Created in 1867, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont is one of the largest public parks in the capital. It’s also unusual in that it was built on a hill, so that today it offers a wonderful view over eastern Paris. On July 14th it provides a great vantage point for enjoying the Bastille Day firework display at the Champ de Mars. The mid nineteenth century transformation of a bare hill that had been used as a limestone and gypsum quarry and even a refuse dump was one of the many remarkable achievements of Baron Haussmann during his reconfiguration of the city. There’s a small lake surrounding a rocky island in the lower part of the park, and it’s usually around this that Parisians gather to relax in the sun and share a picnic.
A place dedicated to both nature and culture
Walking along the winding paths of the Buttes-Chaumont, you’ll see several allegorically-themed sculptures that were erected in the nineteenth century, but the most remarkable of the park’s features is perched atop the 32 metre cliff that rises from the island in the centre of the lake. This is the famous Temple de la Sibylle, designed by the 19th century architect Gabriel Davioud and inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy. To reach Belvédère Island and its marvellous temple you walk across a suspension bridge that was designed by Gustave Eiffel nearly 20 years before he gave his name to the iconic tower overlooking Paris.
A stroll through eastern Paris
After taking your leisure in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, several options are available to you. You can head north to get to the Canal Ourcq and finish your afternoon at the Cité des Sciences or the Parc de la Villette. Further south is the vibrant Belleville, with its bars and restaurants and a park that is the highest in Paris. Finally, walking west for about thirty minutes you can reach the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin and the Place de la République. From here you can easily reach the Pompidou Centre, the Forum des Halles and the Marais district.
Picture copyright holder : Tourist Office Paris - Photographer David Lefranc
Hotel Daunou Opera, an elegant 3-star hotel in Paris, opera district