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Paris' Loveliest Park - le Parc Monceau


image: Chrissy Consolé

Pour ma famille française - les Fauvarques... merci d'être ma deuxième maison et mon deuxième cœur - et de m'avoir offert le Parc Monceau comme terrain de jeu. Merci encore et je vous aime!


Well, P'Nichers, it's time to talk about my absolute favorite place on the planet. Le Parc Monceau. It's not as well known and the Luxembourg or Tuileries, but it's equally as magical. Let's take a P'Niche peek to learn more...


image: en.wikipedia.org

It all starts with King Louis XVI's beyond wealthy cousin, Philippe, Duc d'Orléans.


His widespread role in society and politics had him mixing and mingling with the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) and this liaison introduced him to his beloved English garden style. These English gardens contained what we call follies - which are fantastical portrayals of various buildings and architectural types from different ages, and from all global points.


With his vast and deep pockets, the duke began purchasing property in 1778, with the sole goal of building a public park. Writer / painter, Monsieur Louis Carrogis Carmontelle was engaged to design this park / garden of dreams.


image: https://www.wga.hu/

Carmontelle engaged Etickhausen (a German landscape architect) as well as Bernard Poyet (the Duke's own architect) to design and construct the follies.


Carmontelle's vision stated, "It is not necessary for gardens or nature to be presented in the most agreeable forms. It's necessary to preserve the charm that one encounters entering the garden, and to renew it with each step, so that the visitor, in his soul, will have the desire to revisit the garden every day, and to possess it for himself."


Basically stated, every step should lead one to discover a new surprise, a new delight, and a reason to return again and again - only to discover new whimsies and pieces of art and magic.


Well played, Carmontelle. Well played...


image: en.wikipedia.org

When Carmontelle delivered the park's keys to the Duke in 1779, the 20 acres were full of follies, a miniature pyramid, a glorious Roman colonnade, antique statues and replicas, a temple of Mars, an enchanted grotto (ooooh), and other oddities and delights.


Carmontelle's vision "to put together into one garden all times, all places," was a success.


image: thoughtco.com

What could go wrong? Well, merde...


With the French Revolution, it should be noted that the Duke, a strong supporter of the cause, even voted for the execution of his own cousin King Louis XVI. Family - what can you do?!


In the end, the Duke, too, lost his aristocratic head to the guillotine (gulp), and the park was then nationalized in 1793.


image: https://parisianfields.com/

It was not all gloom and doom in our beloved park - thank goodness!


Fast forward to 1797 - we're at the time of dream and design and the take off (pun intended) of aviation in its many forms.


To that, our very own Parc Monceau was the site of the very first silk parachute jump from a Montgolfier (hot air balloon).


André-Jacques Garnerin took to the air, landing safely in the park, where crowds of spectators and admirers received him to great acclaim. You can even find this charming plaque dedicated to that event in the Allée André-Jacques Garnerin.


Pretty cool, eh? This park/garden is full of hidden treasures like this!


image: madparis.fr

Jumping in time to 1860, the City of Paris purchased the park, but turned it around to the Pereire family (a banking family with deep pockets) for development.


Under Napoléon III and Baron Haussman, the park was remodeled and expanded.

First on the task list was Gabriel Davioud's creation of the the monumental entrances and their glorious gilt laden gates - imposing and iconic to this day.


image: https://www.france-travel-info.com

Not all follies and structures were removed and the park became a blend of old and new, by design.


This stunning Parc Monceau Rotunda is one of the four remaining granting pavilions of the Fermiers Généraux. Designed by the architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, it is a glorious sight to behold when entering the Parc. La Rotonde now hosts the public bathrooms to be found in the park, for its visitors.


image: en.wikipedia.org

One of the newest additions during the restructuring and renovations of the park was a stream and a bridge. Symbolically, the movement of water was meant to induce thoughts of progress, health, and modernity.


These days, most use it as a charming and romantic way to find their way to the Roman colonnade. Le sigh...


image: http://paris1900.lartnouveau.com

Under head gardener, Jean-Pierre Barillet-Deschamps, the park took on a dream like, yet modern quality, where both commoner and aristocrat gathered (mostly aristocrats).


The very affluent families: the Pereires, Rothschilds, Cernuschis, Ménierss, and Camondo families had their own mansions constructed, each with private gardens that opened directly onto the park.


image: planetofhotels.com

In fact, one of those residences has been turned into a museum.


The Musée Nissim de Camondo is a breathtaking (yet hauntingly tragic) walk through time.


P'Niche will cover this little gem soon, so please do subscribe to join us back here in the Parisian Niche...


image: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Back in the park, the space had become quite the communal area for artists to meet, discuss, and create gorgeous works.


Artists like Gustave Courbet, Paul Cézanne, and Alfred Sisley all took time to capture the stunning glory of the Parc Monceau.


However, it was Claude Monet who painted six works in the park - 3 in 1876 and 3 more in 1878.


One might say that it was here that Monet had begun to experiment with the two-dimensional motifs - a well identified mark of his works of the 1880s and 1890s.


This painting lives at the Met in NYC - lucky P'Niche (I don't take it for granted!)


https://breves-histoire.fr/ by Clémence Monot

These days, the park is a wanderer's delight, full of gorgeous nooks and crannies.


Runners, joggers, and walkers alike also take refuge under the lush canopies of greenery. Just make sure to run in the same direction as the masses - or else. (Ask me how I know!)


P'Niche specifically did not post many personal photos so that you, too, could discover and treasure the beauty for yourself.


image: instagram.com/herve_in_paris

Okay, okay, I'll give you one tip since it has gained a lot of social media traction as of late...


As you stroll through the park, you will encounter the Monument à Charles Gounod. Side note: Gounod was the famed composer, best known for his rendition of Avé Maria, in addition to his operas (Faust and Romeo and Juliet).


Anyway - keep strolling and you will notice another one of the grand gilded gates. You will then focus down the avenue for a fantastic (side-esque) view of the Arc de Triomphe.


Honestly, you won't be close enough to be able to see the many reliefs on the arc, but it is a truly instagrammable moment.


image: https://www.parisladouce.com

Ready to head to le Parc Monceau? Yay!


35, blvd de Courcelles, 75008

Métro: Monceau (Line 2)

P'Niche PSA - keep a look out for the Héctor Guimard art nouveau details!


Park is open from sunrise to sunset - with longer hours in the summer.


Entrance is free - no ticket needed.


What do you say, P'Nicher - are you ready to enjoy your whimsical stroll through le Parc Monceau? Let us know in the comments below et â bientôt!

image: https://www.france-travel-info.com/
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Sharyn Peterson
Sharyn Peterson
27 sept 2023

Parc Monseau is my favorite as well. The colonnade never gets old and never disappoints! And it's where I saw the little sign next to some roses that explained that these particular flowers had been planted to attract a particular kind of bee... and I had the sudden realization that what I love so very much about Paris (and France as a whole) is that everything is intentional. That was a life-altering moment and discovery! 🙃

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chrissy
04 oct 2023
Contestando a

Oh, I love that - thank you for sharing that perfectly Parisian moment and personal story!

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Ellen Betancourt
Ellen Betancourt
27 sept 2023

Wonderful. Parc Monceau is my favorite Parisian park. Do you ascribe to the story that the Colonnade was built for Cathérine de Médicis, never actually used, then recycled to the Parc? I read that somewhere years go.

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chrissy
04 oct 2023
Contestando a

You know what, I have read that story, and am not certain, but I can't say that it *wasn't built for CdM, so it's a strong... perhaps! More research (and trips to Monceau) needed to finalize opinion! 😉

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danyel.moulden
27 sept 2023

Merci mon amie! On my list for some glorious fall photography next month!!!

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chrissy
04 oct 2023
Contestando a

I so cannot wait to hear your opinion and see your fall photo journey!!

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