Up until 1860, this area was home to a deep limestone quarry, but thanks to Napoleon III, the gaping hole was turned into an unusual park, full of hills and dales, rocky bluffs, and cliffs. It took 3 years to make this romantic garden; over 1,000 workers and 100 horses dug, heaped, and blasted through the walls of the quarry to create green lawns, a cool grotto, cascades, streams, and even a small lake. By the opening of the 1867 World’s Fair, the garden was ready for visitors. The surrounding area was, and still is, working-class; the Emperor built it to give this industrious neighborhood a green haven and a bit of fresh air. Pony rides are available for the kids on weekends and Wednesdays (3–6pm; www.animaponey.com), plus a puppet theater, a carousel, and two playgrounds. The guinguette-style (open-air) bar/cafe—Rosa Bonheur, named after the 19th-century feminist artist—is a bucolic spot for drinks and snacks, staying open even after the park has closed.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Rue Botzaris, 19th arrond.
Our Rating Neighborhood Belleville, Canal St-Martin & La Villette (10th, 19th & 20th Arrondissements) Hours Daily 7am–dusk Transportation Métro: Botzaris or Buttes Chaumont