Parc Monceau

Parc Monceau (82)

Parc Monceau is a veritable oasis in the heart of Paris. Its origin dates back to 1778. It was then when the Duke of Chartres, who would later be the Duke of Orleans, commissioned the creation of a recreational house and magnificent garden to Louis Carmontelle, a painter, writer and landscape architect. Carmontelle was also a theatre designer and produced the garden like an authentic stage set.

The scenery of Parc Monceau is rather exotic, full of architectural extravagances. Strange constructions appear successively in the park in all styles from all periods: ruins of a temple of the God Mars and a Gothic castle, a minaret, a Dutch windmill, a Chinese pagoda, a Tartar tent... 

In 1873, the landscape designer Thomas Blaikie designed an entire section of the garden in English style.

Among the curiosities of the park feature what was the setting of the first documented parachute landing. The brave soul who landed here from the skies was André-Jacques Garnerin who jumped out of a balloon on the 22nd of October 1797. Also, a long time before, in 1429, Joan of Arc camped close to a town called Monceau.

 Parc Monceau has changed owners throughout its history and in 1852 was acquired by the State, which sold half the land to build private residences. Today, two of these buildings are occupied by the Cernuschi Museum, of Asian art, and the Nissin de Camondo Museum, with collections of furniture and objects from the 18th century.

The nine remaining hectares were reserved for a public garden. And it was modified one more time by Adolphe Alphand, the architect of the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes parks, who fitted out Parc Monceau in the style of English gardens and placed new buildings. In 1861, Napoleon III was able to officially open the park just as you see it today.

Today the park continues to be one of the most elegant in the city despite the fact that many of its original elements and constructions were lost. Alongside the pond is the naumachia surrounded by Corinthian columns. Naumachia means naval battle. This is also the name of the building or type of pool that the Romans used to simulate naval battles. 

The park is also full of monuments in memory of writers and artists.

It also conserves a Renaissance arcade, a pyramid, a stream and the Pavillon de Chartres, a neoclassical building surrounded by 16 columns. And in the south of the park you can visit an enormous red pagoda that houses a gallery dedicated to Asian art. 

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