Parc des Buttes Chaumont

The Parc des Buttes Chaumont is an urban public park located in a serene environment in Paris’ 19th arrondissement. The name of the park is derived from its hilly elevations. The area was rich in clay, and no vegetation used to grow, and the derived name for this hilly area with virtually zero growth was Buttes Chaumont. Thanks to its elevated geography, the park provides a picturesque view of Paris, something that comes highly appreciated by the numerous Parisians that leisurely visit it.

Before it became the stunning park known today, Buttes Chaumont was something else entirely. It was the site of gallows, and many criminals were executed there. In the early 19th century, it was transformed to a gypsum quarry. Owing to the mining activity in the area, the ground became scarred with open pits which were later used for dumping garbage. In 1862, Napoleon III wished to see the area transform to an attractive site by building a park. It was at this time that the modernization plans of Paris were just beginning, and under the guide of Baron Haussmann and a group composed of engineers, a horticulturist, a landscape designer and an architect transformed the barely likeable area from 1864 to 1867 when it was officially opened as a park. Impressing everyone that saw it, the new Parc des Buttes Chaumont became a scenic ground for Parisians with its many geographical attractions.

Among the attractions in the park include the Sybil, a Corinthian-styled temple, inspired by the Vesta Temple in Tivoli, and built on the 30m high rock. It is surrounded by a man-made rock. The temple is accessed via two bridges, a long suspension bridge, or the suicide bridge, a more elevated bridge which grants access on the southern side.

The park is rich in floral life, with is what Napoleon III had envisioned. There are different kinds of trees in the area, some of which are exotic. The greenery is unmatched, with some of the plants and trees planted in the 19th century being around even today. The plush vegetation creates a romantic environment to picnic and spend time together in the late afternoon. The park is abundant with amenities which range from boat rides on the artificial lake, horse rides in the long stretch (5km) of natural trails to playgrounds for young kids.

As far as the geography goes, the park boasts cliffs, waterfalls and even a grotto. Cumulatively, they create a feel of a natural untamed environment that is subtly and ingeniously planned to be both pleasing and scenic. Thanks to the high elevation of the park, one can get a distant yet unbridled view of as far as Montmartre and see the Sainte Chapelle. A café is available in the park for casual dining. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont may not be your everyday kind of park with its artistic geography, and it’s in this uniqueness that it finds its popularity. It provides a pleasant, un-crowded atmosphere to unwind and just clear your mind.