In today’s edition of our “Live Like A Local” series, we follow our ACCENT Paris Center Director Melissa Smith-Simonet as she takes us on a virtual tour of the Parc Montsouris.
A Walk in the Parc
When you live in a fast-paced city like Paris and are pounding the sidewalks and the crowded halls of the metro every day to get around, a little greenery and space to spread out is a welcome getaway.
The Parc Montsouris, located at the southern point of Paris just across from the Cité Universitaire campus on the boulevard Jourdan in the 14th arrondissement, is where you’ll find such a place. Built in the 19th century, it’s one of the four large parks located at each cardinal point of the city, the other parks being the Bois de Vincennes at the eastern point, the Bois de Boulogne at the western point, and Buttes Chaumont at the northern point.
Montsouris consists of over 35 acres of grass, trees, shrubs, flowers, a lake, and even a waterfall. The lake is filled with all kinds of water fowl that splash, primp, and preen, completely unbothered by their human Parisian companions. There’s a small café on the outskirts of the park where they serve crepes, sandwiches, coffee, tea, and in the holiday season, cups of vin chaud. In the summer months, French organic ice cream carts are strategically placed throughout the park for refreshment. Children can ride the merry-go-round, pet ponies, and even see a puppet show at the old-fashioned Theatre du Grand-Guignol.
Jubilee, my one-year-old Cavalier King Charles puppy, loves to frolic in the grass and chase the ducks. Sometimes, we are not very sage and when no one is looking, we let Jubilee run, roll, and bark on the deep, rich lawn that says “pelouse interdite” (French for “keep off the grass”). Often, the park rangers notice and blow the whistle so we have to move along, but the dog is generally so playful and joyful that they have to laugh while they scold us!
~Melissa Smith-Simonet, ACCENT Paris