On a Sunday, summer morning I decided to take a break from the typical touristic sites around Paris and headed to Parc des Buttes Chaumont, located on a hill in the northeast side of Paris in the 19th arrondissement. I hoped I could relax and get away from the crowds but was I in for a surprise...a pleasant surprise!
In mid July, I had the chance of spending a weekend in Paris. I planned to bring along my analog cameras and do the touristic walk along the banks of the River Seine, all the way from Ile Saint-Louis to Tour Eiffel, while documenting the walk with mostly B&W photos. After walking around on Saturday afternoon on part of my planned walk, getting soaked on a typical Parisian summer rain shower, and even doing some shopping for clothes, I woke up exhausted on Sunday morning. So I decided to go somewhere in the morning to just sit, relax, and perhaps do a bit of writing. I’ve searched for parks in the guide book I brought along and decided to give the Parc des Buttes Chaumont a try. Took the Metro ’til the Buttes Chaumont station (Line 7bis) and arrived there at around 10:30am.
The Parc des Butter Chaumont was finished in 1867, after four years of construction, it was opened as part of the festivities of the Universal Exhibition in 1867. It was commissioned by Napoleon III.
I was expecting a quiet park, especially on a Sunday morning, but was I in for a surprise! When I left the metro station, and crossed the gate, I saw the place packed with people jogging and parents walking around their kids and babies in pushchairs. While I walked ’til the lake, I had to keep dodging all the joggers. Pretty cool atmosphere actually!
I sat on one of the benches facing the lake for a while and tried to work on the lyrics of two new songs I was working on around that time. The weather was quite cloudy that morning but still warm enough.
Over the lake, there’s a suspension bridge, 63 meters long, that give access from the south side of the park to an island partially surrounded by the lake, called L’île du Belvédère. There’s also another bridge, 22 meters high, known as the “suicide bridge” because many people have jumped off the bridge in an attempt to kill themselves that gives access to the island from the west side of the park.
In the peak of this island sits the Temple de la Sybil, built in 1866 by Gabriel Davioud. It’s a Corinthian-style monument, modeled after the ancient Roman Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy. From there you have a gorgeous view over Paris. You can even see clearly the Sacré-Cœur on the left.
Another special place in the park is the grotto with an artificial waterfall. The grotto used to be an ancient entrance to an underground quarry. I’ve met an American couple there who saw me with all my cameras and asked me to take a picture of them. Afterwards, they’ve offered to take a picture of me in front of the waterfall. It’s always fun to have such random encounters.
Every time I see nice lampposts, I need to take photos of them. Maybe it’s a Narnia thing… Just loved this one outside the grotto, and I couldn’t miss it with the waterfall in the background.
I really enjoyed my first visit to the Parc des Butter Chaumont. Unexpectedly beautiful, great views, a cool waterfall, cool green hills just to sit under a summer sun. Was not expecting to find such in the middle of Paris!