Paris is home to over 400 parks of all shapes and sizes. But perhaps none is more beautiful or more fun than Parc Monceau (Monceau Park). Located in the chic 8th arrondissement, Parc Monceau is one of the largest parks in Paris and features a kilometer of paths for walking or jogging. What’s more, there are fascinating architectural features on display and plenty of kid-friendly activities to discover. It’s an ideal escape from Paris without having to leave the city.
De-stress in the calm atmosphere
Parc Monceau is located in the heart of Paris, but it certainly doesn’t seem like it. The park is surrounded by ornate 18th Haussmanian-style residences that almost completely block city noises from the park. After just a few minutes, it’s easy to forget the chaotic city outside the park’s gates.
Inside the park, English-style gardens invite visitors to pause and enjoy this rare bit of nature in Paris. Enormous trees, flowering shrubs and expansive lawns are plentiful. In addition, there are many water features like reflecting pools and waterfalls that provide a calming soundtrack. What’s more, visitors are invited to walk, picnic and sunbathe on the lush grass. This is an incredible advantage as almost all parks in Paris ban people from going on the grass.
Discover the architecture
Parc Monceau is also unique in that it contains architectural features, of differing styles, some dating as far back as the 16th century! For example, at the main entrance, find the Rotonde de Ledoux (Ledoux’s Rotunda). During the 16th century the rotunda operated as a passageway in the Mur des Fermiers Généraux (Wall of the Generous Farmers) that surrounded Paris to collect taxes on goods entering the city.
Not far from the rotunda, look for Greek Corinthian-style columns that flank the reflecting pool. These columns were originally part of the Saint-Denis church that was destroyed in 1719.
An Egyptian-style pyramid can be found across the park from these columns. It was built in the mid-18th century after one of the park’s architects had a dream about incorporating Egyptian elements into the park’s design.
Other features, like the Japanese lantern, are newer additions to the park, but still contribute to the variety of architectural styles. The lantern was a gift from the city of Tokyo to the city of Paris given in 1982 to celebrate the friendship between the two cities.
Pay homage to French artists
Thanks to its natural beauty and unique architecture, Parc Monceau attracted some of France’s greatest 19th century personalities, such as painter Monet, writers Marcel Proust and Guy de Maupassant and composer Frederic Chopin. Statues were installed throughout the park to celebrate their memories.
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Bring the kids for playtime
There’s certainly no shortage of activities for kids at Parc Monceau. As mentioned previously, the lawns are open for picnics and games so kids can run around while the adults relax. In addition, there is a playground, sand boxes and a designated roller-blading area.
For the more adventurous, there is the merry-go-round featuring car, plane, and animal seats. One ride costs 2 EUR (2,2 USD). There are also high-playing swings where kids sit and can be pushed by their parents. One five minute ride costs 1,7 EUR (1,85 USD). Next door there is a small café stand serving hot dogs, hot chocolate and plenty of candy stand featuring lots of sugary treats.
These attractions are open all week and there are even more activities during the weekends, including pony rides and roller skating classes on Sunday mornings.
A truly unique park in Paris
Parc Monceau is one of the rare parks in Paris that offers something for everyone: sprawling lawns for picnickers, wide running paths for joggers, inviting architectural features for history buffs and games for the kids. The park is easily accessible from metro line 2, stop Monceau. It is open from 7.00 AM to 8.00 PM during the winter and 7.00 to 10.00 PM during the summer.
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