Right from start, you’ll find your steps slowing: that great wrought-iron entrance, tipped with gold, created by the architect Gabriel Davioud, is imposing. But the family-friendly and romantic Parc Monceau, built in the 18th century at the instigation of the Duke of Chartres, was designed as a garden of illusions and pleasure.
Separated from the city by a green belt and surrounded by sumptuous mansions, including the Cernuschi Museum, the park holds delightful surprises for the casual stroller. At the entrance, look out for a rotunda from the Wall of the Fermiers Généraux, created by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Surrounding the oval ornamental lake you’ll find a Corinthian colonnade from an edifice that once adjoined the Saint-Denis Basilica. A little further on, a Renaissance-style arcade turns out to be a vestige of the Paris Town Hall, burnt down in 1871…
Marble and Wood
Strolling along the alleyways past leafy groves, you’ll see several marble statues celebrating the glory of writers and musicians like Musset, Chopin and Guy de Maupassant.
But the charm of the park, also resides in its spectacular trees and the wide variety of bird life there. For example, the Sycamore Maple, planted in 1853, is, at around 30-meters high, very hard to miss. Other highlights include the Oriental Plane Tree, a doyen of the park, planted in 1814, and the imposing antlers of the Purple Maple.