Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

In search of nature in Paris: The Buttes Chaumont Park

It was a beautiful summer day when I came across the park for the first time. The kind of day when everything is bright and lends itself to a long walk in the middle of nature, except that the’we are in the middle of the city. And c’is where I’I found the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, a lovely public space in the 19th district of the city.

A green space not to be missed

Built under the reign of Napoleon III, The Parc des Buttes Chaumont is the fifth largest park in Paris and was opened to the public in 1867. The public space was created under the watchful eye of engineer and designer Jean-Charles Adolphe Alphand, now buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Before working on the Buttes Chaumont, Alphand worked on the creation of the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes. Characterized by its English garden elements and 19th-century architecture, the park’s work began in 1864. To create the picturesque peaks that you can see today (and which extend up to fifty meters into the sky), heavy explosives were used and two hundred thousand cubic meters of topsoil were added.

Before its designation as a public park, the plot of land was used as a disposal area; horse carcasses and waste water were thrown away there. In the vicinity, the old Gibbet de Montfaucon was once a large gallows where public executions were held.

The fifth largest park in Paris

Built under the reign of Napoleon III, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont is the fifth largest park in Paris and was opened to the public in 1867. L’This public space has been created under the watchful eye of the’engineer and designer Jean-Charles Adolphe Alphand, today’today buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery.

Before working on the Buttes Chaumont, Alphand worked on the creation of the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes. Characterized by its elements of garden to the’With its English style and its 19th century architecture, the work of the park started in 1864. To create the picturesque summits that you can see today’today (and which is’extend until’fifty meters into the sky), heavy explosives were used and two hundred thousand cubic meters of topsoil were added.

Prior to its designation as a public park, the land was used as a park’area of’disposal; horse carcasses and sewage were dumped there. In the vicinity, the’The old Gibbet de Montfaucon was once a large gallows where public executions would take place.

A park on its own island

The structure stands atop an artificial cliff, majestic. However, this is France and there is no queen, not to mention all the accessories that go with royalty. Instead, this folly is called Temple of the Sibyl and is based on the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy.

It is located on its own island and is accessible by two bridges that span the artificial lake below.

Located at least fifty meters above the sparkling waters of the lake below, the monument has spent much of the past few years closed for repairs. However, in recent months, some of the paths that wind up to the Temple of the Sybil are open to discovery !

The artificial lake and its bridges

In the heart of the park, the artificial lake is home to a host of birds and other wildlife throughout the year. Head to the park in the spring, and you can expect to find some of the city’s prettiest cherry blossoms as well as a large number of other spring flowers.

Elsewhere in the park, there are several impressive bridges. A suspension bridge leading to the island that houses the Temple of Sybil, it was designed by the man behind the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel, himself !

The stalactites in the cave may be hand-carved, but the magic of the place is still very real. A little away from the rest of the park, in the remains of an old quarry, a 14-meter wide and 20-meter high cave has been created. This breathtaking space seems out of place in the hustle and bustle of Parisian life, and even has its own (albeit artificial) waterfall.

The little belt

Part of the park is also home to the Petite Ceinture, a secret and long-forgotten Napoleonic railroad that runs around the interior of Paris. Built in 1862, the railroad line runs around the city for 20 km and was once used to transport goods and passengers around Paris.

Officially closed in 1934, the steam train was quickly replaced by the subway and the tracks were left to the elements. Today, you can see parts of the runways overgrown at several designated locations throughout the city.