Built under the reign of Emperor Napoleon II and inaugurated in 1869, the Montsouris Park is one of the largest green spaces in Paris. The beautiful lake, many statues and remarkable old trees, make this park great for a walk, and it is a real getaway from the busy Parisian streets. In this park, you can observe many bird species or even see the “Mire du Sud”, a stone monument marking the location of the meridian of Paris. The Montsouris Park is also a perfect place to have a picnic or just enjoy long Parisian spring and summer days. In that period of the year, you can also see many concerts in this park, and for free.
Emperor Napoleon III wanted to make a green space in every part of Paris. He entrusted this project to the famous Baron Haussmann and his engineer Jean-Charles Alphand. But Haussmann and Alphand, who already created other great Parisian parks such as the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes, had a very complicated task to accomplish when it comes to the Montsouris Park. Before becoming a park, the Montsouris was occupied by the quarries of Montrouge. The parts of these quarries were even used as a place that received the bones of many closed Parisian cemeteries. The designers of this park also had to deal with the presence of the railway tracks. Finally, the Montsouris Park was inaugurated in 1878.
In the Montsouris Park, you can see a stone monument named the “Mire du Sud”. This monument indicates the location of the Meridian of Paris, defined by the French astronomers in 1667. This imaginary line was used as the zero point for the longitude in France until 1884 when the French authorities finally decided to use the Greenwich longitude. Even if this is not an original location of the monument, which was situated some seventy meters from there, this is still a very interesting thing to visit. But, the Montsouris park is also known for its old and rare trees, such as the Chinese parasol tree. This place is even a real sanctuary for many wild ducks, herons, swans and especially for migratory birds. If you are a nature lover, then this place will be a real heaven for you.
The Montsouris Park is open every day. The access is free of charge. From May to September, many free concerts are organized inside of the park. You can take a break and have a lunch or a drink in the Pavillon Montsouris. This restaurant, situated in a building designed in 1889 and listed as a French historical monument in 2001, serves tasty and traditional French food and has a beautiful terrace with an incredible view over the Montsouris park.
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