Join me for a (pictorial) visit to my new favourite park in Paris. I feel like I say this about all the places in Paris, but the Buttes Chaumont could very well be my utmost favourite. This unique and enchanting space of greenery tucked in the north-east edge of the city, has a temple, waterfalls, caves, streams, bridges, cliffs and a lake with its own small island! Ancient trees and plants from when the park opened in 1867 can still be found here.
The park is full of so many distinctive features, like a 65 metre long suspension bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel.
At the top of the steep cliffs on the rocky island is a tower, the Temple de la Sibylle surrounded by an artificial lake.
I hear there are stunning views of Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur from the temple, but we couldn’t get up there on our visit because it was closed off for restoration.
There’s also a very picturesque waterfall and grotto that used to be an entrance to an underground limestone quarry. Another thing I find fascinating about the park is the history of its once not-so-great site; it used to be a quarry, a butchery, dumping ground and a gibbet (where traitors were hanged and publicly left to rot).
The uneven terrain, expansive grounds (61 acres!) and scenic features make for a fun and entertaining walk, it feels like a hike. There are beautiful sloping lawns for picnicking, lazing around and whiling away time. You’ll find people jogging, walking dogs, families with strollers and kids running around exploring, It’s the type of place that evokes adventure, because you never know what you’ll come upon on the next turn.
Exceptionally well maintained, sections of the park are currently being renovated and the temple is closed for safety reasons. It was still the most perfect park to wander and explore.
It’s serene and calm, and all so lush and green. Interestingly, it’s a little different from the more popular Tuileries or Luxembourg Gardens. It feels more like an informal park you’d find in North America… if you had Jean-Pierre Barillet-Deschamps build it with French flair and opulence.