Where to stay in Paris, France
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.
P 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.
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:
From the city center, take any southbound RER Line "B" train to . 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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
BELOW: If you're coming from the north on RER Ligne "B," you'll get off your train at thestation.
BELOW: As you leave the station, turn left and follow the pedestrian path into the park.
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.
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.
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.
BELOW: Unlike some Parisian parks, the Parc Montsouris allows dogs.
BELOW: The park also has a fleet of rental ponies. (We didn't think to ask if we could bring our own.)
BELOW: A white-tablecloth restaurant, the Pavillon Montsouris, has served fine food to hungry park visitors since 1889.
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.
BELOW: No wildlife species were harmed in the making of this ice cream at the park's snack bar.
BELOW: Young patrons of the Parc Mountsouris hang out by a toddlers' thrill ride.
BELOW: A playground offers to-it-yourself excitement for children.
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.)
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.
BELOW: A puppet theater offers performances for children who
have used up their screen time.
BELOW: A gardener's work is never done.
BELOW: Scenes and views in the Parc Montsouris range from the rustic to the urban.
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.)
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.
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