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If you need a break from the busy city life, this park in the south of Paris is the place to go.
It offers a quieter, calmer side of Paris. At least, that’s what Georges-Eugène Haussmann and Jean-Charles Alphand intended when they created it in the 19th century under Emperor Napoléon III.
Located in the 14th Arrondissement, Parc Montsouris intersects the RER B at Cité Universitaire. As a result, students often come here to eat crêpes or go for jogs on the dirt and cement paths. On sunny days, you’ll see boy scouts and girl scouts picnic on the grassy field. Children can play on the playgrounds, ride ponies, or even watch a puppet show.
This hilly, English-style park presents a panoramic view of the Panthéon, the observatory, and the reservoir. It’s marked by dozens of diverse flowers and trees, such as Chinese parasol tree, Diospros kaki or Japanese persimmon tree, some of them over a hundred years old. Several bronze statues populate the area, too. (It’s Paris, after all.)
I personally love the park for birdwatching. Its artificial lake and waterfall are home to various species of swan, duck, and fowl. Well, I’m a fan of one bird in particular: poules d’eaux. I like to describe waterhens as ducks with chicken legs—and the sight of them never fails to make me smile. As a foreigner, I only ever have the privilege of meeting them here at their home in Montsouris.