Fodor's Expert Review Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Eastern Paris Park/Playground

If you're tired of perfectly manicured Parisian parks with lawns that are off-limits to your weary feet, this place is for you. Built in 1863 on abandoned gypsum quarries and a former gallows, it was northern Paris's first park, part of Napoléon III's planned greening of the city (the emperor had spent years in exile in London, where he fell in love with the public parks). Today the lovely 61-acre hilltop expanse in the untouristy 19e arrondissement has grassy fields, shady walkways, waterfalls, and a picturesque lake dotted with swans. Rising from the lake is a rocky cliff you can climb to find a mini Greek-style temple and a commanding view of Sacré-Coeur Basilica. A favorite of families, the park also has pony rides and an open-air puppet theater—Guignol de Paris (€5; shows at 3:30 pm and 4:45 pm Wednesday and Saturday, and at 11:15 am, 3:30 pm, and 4:45 pm on Sunday, year-round)—not far from the entrance at the Buttes-Chaumont métro stop. When you've worked up an appetite,... READ MORE

If you're tired of perfectly manicured Parisian parks with lawns that are off-limits to your weary feet, this place is for you. Built in 1863 on abandoned gypsum quarries and a former gallows, it was northern Paris's first park, part of Napoléon III's planned greening of the city (the emperor had spent years in exile in London, where he fell in love with the public parks). Today the lovely 61-acre hilltop expanse in the untouristy 19e arrondissement has grassy fields, shady walkways, waterfalls, and a picturesque lake dotted with swans. Rising from the lake is a rocky cliff you can climb to find a mini Greek-style temple and a commanding view of Sacré-Coeur Basilica. A favorite of families, the park also has pony rides and an open-air puppet theater—Guignol de Paris (€5; shows at 3:30 pm and 4:45 pm Wednesday and Saturday, and at 11:15 am, 3:30 pm, and 4:45 pm on Sunday, year-round)—not far from the entrance at the Buttes-Chaumont métro stop. When you've worked up an appetite, grab a snack at the Rosa Bonheur café (www.rosabonheur.fr), or reserve a table for weekend lunch at Le Pavillon du Lac restaurant (www.lepavillondulac.fr). Major renovation work that began in 2012 is almost finished, but expect some unsightly construction and limited access to certain areas.

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Park/Playground Family

Quick Facts

Paris, Île-de-France  75019, France

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