Montsouris Park

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It was as a result of Napoleon III's policy of creating, in Paris, urban green space at the four points of the compass that the Montsouris park was built on the plain of the same name between 1867 and 1878. The name Montsouris is a corruption of the word Moquesouris (mouse mocker), the ancient name for the place, a reference to the windmills, once very attractive to attract mice, which had then been abandoned.

The site stretches over more than 37.5 acres (15 hectares) and was designed and built by Alphand for the sum (astronomic for the time) of 1,750,000 francs. In fact, four quarries had to be in-filled so as to stabilise the terrain and to hide two railways lines there. A charming park with sweeping lawns and clumps of trees interspersed with numerous small bridges, grottoes and waterfalls, the Montsouris park best known for its two-and-a-half-acre lake. The history of the lake is however marked by the following incident. During the opening of the park, the lake (because of a construction error) suddenly emptied, to the great surprise of all present. In despair, the contractor who had built it committed suicide.

Discover more about the Parc Montsouris and the other green spaces provided for Paris by the Second Empire. Take a wander around our itinerary “Parks and Gardens: Parisian strolls of the Second Empire“.

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