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Parc Montsouris

The Montsouris Park is an attractive urban green space on the southern edge of Paris. It's next to an RER station and the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris.

Pony in Parc Montsouris

ABOVE: A pony takes a snack break in the Parc Montsouris.

Parc Montsouris is one of the larger city parks in Paris. It's located in the 14th arrondissement, along the southern border of the city, where it occupies 15.5 hectares or 38 acres of land that was reshaped from an abandoned stone quarry into an English landscape garden during the latter half of the 19th Century.

Statue and children in Parc Montsouris

Today, the former wasteland is a lovely urban refuge with gently rolling hills, huge trees, an artificial lake, flower gardens, winding paths, and amenities such as a restaurant, a snack bar, a modern playground, and clean public restrooms.

Patrons of the park include local joggers, dog-walkers, old-age pensioners, parents, children from toddlers to teens, and students from nearby university residences.

Tourists are less visible than you might expect: Although the Parc Montsouris is easy enough to reach from the city center, it's more of a neighborhood park than a destination for visitors. Still, we think it's a delightful place to spend a couple of hours or enjoy an outdoor meal when you've had your fill of traffic and crowds.

Getting to the Parc Montsouris:

RER Line B Cité Universitaire station sign

From the city center, take any southbound RER Line "B" train to Cité Universitaire. If you have time, cross the street to the university's attractive campus and spend some time walking among the 40 residences (which house students, researchers, artists, and athletes from more than 140 countries).

The southern entrance to the park is alongside the station. Just follow the path past the RER station building and go exploring. (See map and captioned photos below.)

We suggest leaving the Parc Montsouris by the northwestern entrance and following Avenue Coty to Place Denfert Rochereau, which is a major RER and Métro hub.

Or, if you're in the mood for a longer walk, you can continue on the Avenue Raspail or the Avenue Denfert Rochereau to Boulevard Montparnasse and the 6th arrondissement

Neighborhood by Parc Montsouris

Tip: If you can spare 15 or 20 minutes for local exploration after leaving the Park Montsouris, walk around the tiny (and pretty) neighborhood streets just to the left of the park's western boundary.

Exploring the park:

RER Line B tracks and platforms in Parc Montsouris

On the large map below, you can see RER line "B" running north-south through the park and with a station next to the Cité Universitaire. The international university's campus is immediately south of the Boulevard Jourdan, which is also served by the T3A tram line.

Ice cream cups at Parc Montsouris

In the northeast section of the park, you'll find a lake and--along the eastern edge--WCs, places to eat, rides for children, a playground, and other park services.

Huge tree in Parc Montsouris

Walking and jogging paths meander through the park's rolling terrain, which is laid out as an English landscape garden (as opposed to the formal French gardens that you'll find at Versailles, the Tuileries, and many other locations around Paris).

Map of Parc Montsouris - OpenStreetMap

Map: OpenStreetMap contributors [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

More photos:

BELOW: If you're coming from the north on RER Ligne "B," you'll get off your train at the Cité Universitaire station.

Train platforms at RER Cité Universitaire station

RER Cité Universitaire station

BELOW: As you leave the station, turn left and follow the pedestrian path into the park.

Entrance to Parc Montsouris at RER Cité Universitaire station

BELOW: Behind the Cité Universitaire station building, you'll see tracks and platforms of RER Ligne "B." The tracks run through the park--sometimes in a cut between the hills, and occasionally on an overpass.

RER Line B train tracks entering Cité Universitaire Station

BELOW: Follow whatever path strikes your mood. (The path on the right is quicker if you're looking for the restaurant, toilets, and other park amenities.) If you're like us, you'll be impressed by the English-style landscaping.

Park Montsouris, Paris

BELOW: This memorial honors a French soldier, Pierre Dupont, who was killed by a German bomb that exploded in the park on August 26, 1944.

 WWII memorial in Parc Montsouris

BELOW: Unlike some Parisian parks, the Parc Montsouris allows dogs.

Dog-walker in Parc Montsouris, Paris

BELOW: The park also has a fleet of rental ponies. (We didn't think to ask if we could bring our own.)

Ponies in Parc Montsouris

Pony ride in Parc Montsouris, Paris

BELOW: A white-tablecloth restaurant, Le Pavillon Montsouris, has served fine food to hungry park visitors since 1889.

Restaurant in Parc Montsouris, Paris

Woman studying menu at Pavillon Montsouris

BELOW: We don't know if duck and turtle are on the Pavillon's menu, but they're easy to find in the park's lake.

Duck in Parc Montsouris, Paris

Turtle in Parc Montsouris, Paris

BELOW: No wildlife species were harmed in the making of this ice cream at the park's snack bar.

Ice cream at snack bar in Parc Montsouris

BELOW: Young patrons of the Parc Mountsouris hang out by a toddlers' thrill ride.

Children's ride in Parc Montsouris

BELOW: A playground offers to-it-yourself excitement for children.

Playground in Parc Montsouris

BELOW: Need to spend a euro penny? Head for the public toilets. (If your companion is having a cardiac episode, look for the defibrillator next to the WC entrance.)

WCs and defibrillator in Parc Montsouris

BELOW: As you continue north through the park and around the lake, you'll encounter a brick-and-steel overpass where you can see RER trains speeding north or south.

RER train speeding through Parc Montsouris

BELOW: A puppet theater offers performances for children who have used up their screen time.

Puppet theater in Parc Montsouris

BELOW: A gardener's work is never done.

Gardeners and landscaping in Parc Montsouris

BELOW: Scenes and views in the Parc Montsouris range from the rustic to the urban.

Old guard's hut in Parc Montsouris

Parc Montsouris and apartment buildings, Paris

BELOW: You'll notice fake wood made of cement through the park. (Railings made of artificial tree branches are also a scenic fixture in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont.)

Fake wood fence in Parc Monceau

BELOW: If you're lucky, you'll encounter this vendor of organic sorbets near the park's northwest entrance.

BELOW: As we left the Parc Montsouris, we saw two neighborhood children bringing their chiens to the park for a walk.

Girls with dogs at Parc Montsouris, Paris

Related articles:
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Viaduc des Arts
Paris Sightseeing Index

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Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.

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