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The Parc des Buttes Chaumont

October 23rd, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, France, Paris, tourism, Travel

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A curious reality concerning the 11th arrondissement, where we are staying: It is the most densely populated quartier in Paris but it has very few major … anythings. Landmarks, stores, parks.

So, if you want a bit of greenery on a cool cloud-covered afternoon, you very likely will make a zig-zagging trek up into the 19th, where the sprawling and quirky Parc des Buttes Chaumont is located.

Read the history of the place, in the link provided above; it helps understand the park.

The chief architect of the city “created a picturesque, rustic style for the parks of Paris, sometimes inspired by ancient Rome, sometimes by the chalets and bridges of the Swiss Alps”.

Which leads to oddities like park benches with “wooden” legs that actually are make of cement shaped as branches, as well as paths with concrete “logs” at the edge of each step.

The overall effect, however, is green. Trees and lots of grass, both of which are in short supply in arrondissements like the 11th.

Paths wind through the park. We entered at the southern end of the park, which is shaped a bit like the ‘ of an “open quote” (or at upside-down comma, with the entrance on Simon Bolivar marking the bottom of the punctuation.

The park is undergoing significant renovations, we soon discovered. Quite a few paths are blocked off, and theĀ Temple de la Sibylle, sort of the epicenter of the park, is inaccessible — though we saw a couple of teens climbing over a fence after going up to the temple’s perch, the highest point in the park.

Nearby, we were able to see over miles of buildings and spot the spires of Sacre Coeur, in the 18th (above).

After wandering around , a bit taxed by the climb before the park, as well as those within it, we stopped for chocolat chaud at the park’s restaurant, Pavillon du Lac — an inch of nearly solid unsweetened chocolate at the bottom of a mug, and steaming milk. Pour the milk. Stir. Drink.

It was a good place, at midafternoon, to watch the denizens of the park, who seem to be concentrated in three categories: Joggers, dog-walkers and mothers pushing strollers. Young lovers are a demographic, too, as are school kids out for a lark, traveling with three or four buddies.

We decided the Parc des Buttes Chaumont was a bit like Saadiyat Beach, back in Abu Dhabi — a place that allows you to forget where you are. A horizon of something kinder, gentler, more natural, handsomer.


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