The Buttes Chaumont is one of the largest parks in Paris and also the steepest – it’s built on the old quarries of Belleville. Inaugurated in 1867 – Napolean III decided to give some fresh air and green space to the people of Paris – it’s a very popular park amongst Parisians, great for running, picnicking, or just relaxing and reading a book. The park is planted with many different types of trees, and is big enough to feel like you are really escaping the city. You can also enjoy a lake with a restaurant located in a restored 19th century pavilion (the 5 pavilions in the park were all opened in 1868) Le Pavillon du Lac – check out their website if you can read French, on Sundays in the summer they organize dances, parties and concerts – a waterfall (with an amazing fake grotto underneath!) and a belvedere with great views across the city.
If you’re visiting the Buttes Chaumont in the afternoon, stop at Rosa Bonheur and enjoy a drink and some delicious tapas. Named after a 19th century artist, this bar/café – also located in one of the original park pavilions – transforms itself in the evenings into a guingette – a traditional French dance hall, and is a current favourite of the Parisians. On a summer evening the line can stretch out of the park! This time of year though it’s quiet and relaxed in the afternoons and the food and drink is very reasonably priced.
- Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 1 rue de Botzaris, 75019 Paris. Open Oct – April 07:00 – 20:00, 1 May – 31 Aug 07:00 – 22:00, Sept 07:00 – 21:00
- Rosa Bonheur. Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 2 allée de la Cascade, 75019 Paris. Open Wed – Fri midday to midnight, Sat & Sun 10:00 to midnight
- Metro: Botzaris