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Step into Parc des Buttes Chaumont and the scent of blossom trees, lively chatter of parakeets, and undulating pathways will transport you immediately to the countryside. The noise of the city falls away in this biodiverse green space with its enormous trees, tiny temple and rushing waterfall.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont, a 25-hectare park in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, is the perfect place to observe Parisian culture. School groups of young children meander, badminton games are in full swing, lovers laze on the grass, and family picnics abound. Walkers stride, taichi movements are executed, and runners make their way up and down the steep hills.
If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path Paris, spend a few hours exploring Parc des Buttes Chaumont.
A Little History: Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann decided to construct a large park on a former gypsum and limestone quarry in northeastern Paris. Parc des Buttes Chaumont was designed and created between 1864 and 1867 with Jean-Charles Alphand at the helm of the project. He was very experienced having previously worked on the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes. Parc des Buttes Chaumont was open to the public in 1867 and inaugurated at the World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle) in 1867. Just for reference, the Eiffel Tower was the star at the World’s Fair in 1889.
1. Stand In Le Temple de la Sibylle
One of the highlights of Parc des Buttes Chaumont is the lovely Temple de la Sibylle. Perched on a rocky cliff of 50 metres (164 feet), the Temple de la Sibylle has a fantastic view of Sacre Coeur in the distance. Inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, the temple in Parc des Buttes Chaumont looks out over the park’s artificial lake.
One of the delights of wandering in Parc des Buttes Chaumont is finding the best views to photograph the Temple de la Sibylle.
Please Note: Normally one can climb to the Temple de la Sibylle, but there is currently no access as they are determining the stability of the rock on which it sits.
2. Parc des Buttes Chaumont: Visit The Grotto And Waterfalls
The Grotto of Parc des Buttes Chaumont was created in the ancient entrance to the quarry. At 20 metres (65 feet) high, the cavern is complete with artificial stalactites and stalagmites. The largest stalactite reaches 8 metres (26 feet) high. On a hot summer’s day stand in the grotto and feel the spray of the rushing waterfall tumbling from a height of 18 metres (60 feet).
3. Cross The Suspension Bridge
You never know what you will see as you stroll across the suspension bridge built by Gustave Eiffel. Perhaps a bride and a groom, a photoshoot, or someone playing an instrument. But guaranteed is the view. Look out over the artificial lake and the soaring rocks and spy the Temple de la Sibylle. It’s all rather romantic.
4. Spy La Petite Ceinture In Parc des Buttes Chaumont
While exploring Parc des Buttes Chaumont, don’t be surprised to find railway tracks. La Petite Ceinture is a former railway line that used to encircle Paris. Disused in 1934, the railway line became a haven for plant and animal species in Paris.
In 2007, parts of La Petite Ceinture started opening up to pedestrians. The part that runs through the Parc des Buttes Chaumont is visited illegally by people looking for a hidden spot. I explored recently and found a fence running around most of the railway line.
Find out where you can explore La Petite Ceinture in Paris.
5. Stop By One Of The Pavillons In Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Parc des Buttes Chaumont has three beautiful 19th-century pavillons where you can stop for refreshments. Check out the hours closely to see which suits you best. Coffee? Lunch? An evening cocktail? Dancing?
Le Pavillon du Lac, in the above photo, has the perfect terrace with a view over the lake. After being closed for ten years, this 19th-century brick and glass building was restored and reopened in 2010. I’ve checked out the menu. Definitely on my list for dejeuner!
Hours: Wednesdays to Sundays 10h-18 h. Closest entrance: Place Armand Carrel
Not far from there is the Pavillon Puebla set in a gorgeous restored building. Covered in ivy, this building from the Belle Epoque has two bars and inviting terraces. It’s the perfect place for a cocktail and tapas. (Reopening April 21, 2022)
Hours: Wednesday to Friday 18h-00; Saturday 16h-00; Sunday 13h-21h Closest Entrance: Simon-Bolivar
On the other side of Parc des Buttes Chaumont is the Pavillon Rosa Bonheur. The Pavillon Rosa Bonheur recreates the atmosphere of the famous ginguettes with dancing, singing, and conviviality amongst its patrons.
Hours: Thursday and Friday 19h-midnight; Saturday and Sunday 12h-midnight Location: 2 allée de la Cascade; Closest métro: Botzaris
Pro Tip: Just in front of Pavillon Puebla is a vintage photo booth. Pop in, take a photo and then climb up the stone staircase for a refreshment!
6. Admire The Biodiversity In Parc des Buttes Chaumont
The minute you enter Parc des Buttes Chaumont, the soaring trees will catch your attention. You might notice chestnut trees ready to burst into bloom or pink cherry blossoms gracing the pathways. Keep your eyes open for enormous cedars, a giant sequoia, and a Gingko boliba. Use the plaques with QR codes to discover what lies in front of you. There are 28 QR codes that provide great information about this historic green space.
7. Have A Picnic Like A Parisien
Bring a blanket, a book, and a picnic to Parc des Buttes Chaumont. Find a spot on the grass, sit back and relax. It’s the perfect way to observe Parisians in their daily lives and to experience off the beaten path Paris.
I hope you enjoy exploring Parc des Buttes Chaumont as much as I do. I’m returning for a sunset view and a cocktail at Pavillon Puebla!
Until next time,
More Paris Info…
After exploring Parc des Buttes Chaumont, in the 19th arrondissement, you might want to add these areas of Paris to your list of places to visit!
Get mixed up with the arrondissements of Paris? This guide to the Paris arrondissements will help you plan your best visit to the City of Light!
This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places in Montmartre.
Another of Paris’s most-loved areas is Saint-Germain des Prés. Here are my best tips on things to do in Saint-Germain des Prés.
Le Marais is one of the best areas of Paris to flâner. Here are 23 tops things to do in le Marais.
La Butte aux Cailles, tucked away in the 13th arrondissement, is another place in Paris that has retained its village-like charm. My article on La Butte aux Cailles will lead you to discover some of the area and its visually enticing street art.
Canal Saint-Martin is another place full of small restaurants, boutiques and plenty of character. Stroll the bridges of the canal under the chestnut trees and feel like a true Parisian. All the details on this “bobo” district are in this article on Canal Saint-Martin.
Here are all the things to do on Ile Saint-Louis, one of the oldest villages in Paris.
Don’t forget that the 7th arrondissement has lots to see and do once you have seen the Eiffel Tower.
And the 11th arrondissment of Paris? Authentic and full of great restaurants and shopping (like a local).
Other Paris and France Travel Tips:
Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller.
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. I hope you subscribed to my newsletter to get my free download – An Amazing 2-day Itinerary in Paris.
If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.