Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Parc Monceau, Paris

While in Paris this past fall I left tourist central to finally pay a visit to the Parc Monceau in the 8th arrondissement, namely to see the magnificent Musee Nissim de Camondo (more on that another time) and what remains of Ledoux's  Rotund de Chartres (more on that later too!).
The park was built in the 18th century as a private park for the Phillipe d'Orleans, Duke of Chartres, and his friends. Under the Haussmanization of the area, creating the city we all love today, the park was turned over to the public surrounded by a very luxury sort of 'gated' community.
Today this neighborhood is one of the chicest of the city.  Many of the grand houses have been converted into coveted apartments, corporate headquarters, and embassies much like Kalorama here in Washington, DC.
The grand house below is the European corporate headquarters for Rolex.
 The houses span many different styles but all date to the 1860s.
 Imagine working for your government in one of these beautiful embassies!
Below is the back of the Nissim de Camondo which has a private gate into the park.  6 houses have exclusive use of the park 'after hours' as their own backyard.

The park itself was designed in an English or natural style.  The area may be quite small today but is jam packed with architectural follies such as this bridge below.
 Many of the follies are original to the 18th century and were meant to lend an aire of exoticism.
The park is popular with children; this is a family neighborhood of apartments without yards after-all.
 The colonnade below surrounds a man made 'lake'.
 Many of the sculptures were put in place in the late 19th century and refer to poets and artists.
Many of the follies were built to look old in the 18th century but have been even more weathered due to wars (in this very park!) as well as pollution.
 My favorite is perhaps the small Egyptian pyramid.
Maybe it's the architect in me but I enjoy parks with sculpture and architectural follies such as these so much more than just plain nature; it's the juxtaposition.
Leave it to the French; this witty nod to the Egyptian Pyramid hides some electrical work and stands about 4' tall.


Foodie said...

THE most chic residential area in Paris. Period. I have been sneaking in there for years and dreamed of living in one of those glorious buildings. Guess I am not alone.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Foodie, YES - 'when' I retire to Paris this is definitely where I'd want to live!!! Tried to rent an apartment nearby in the 8th this past trip but it didn't work out and ended up in the Marais instead.

Stephilius said...

One of my favorite of the Paris parks; delicious. And I agree, gardens are better with sculptures, urns, follies, etc. : )

Chronica Domus said...

Yet another beautiful space within an already beautiful city. I agree with you with regards to having follies and features scattered among a park-like setting. Much more interesting. Thank you for sharing your bautiful pictures.

Ann said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip - what a gorgeous park. I'm so glad I get to live vicariously through you. Thanks for bringing a little visual peace to my morning!!

Hilary said...

I used to refer to this Parc as "my royal jogging grounds!" I spent my junior year of college in Paris, living with a family on nearby Blvd de Courcelles. In the early 80's I was one of only a few "crazy americans" who were running along the paths for exercise! I re-visited the Parc Monceau recently on a Sunday morning & it was chock full of runners. Such an elegant, bucolic spot surrounded by beautiful architecture and gold-tipped gates. Merci for the memories.

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

We will be in Paris in May and I just added this park on our must see list. I too adore architectural follies. Oh to be able to enjoy this park as an extension of your backyard after hours. Delightful photo essay, thanks.

Mark Ruffner said...

I like seeing the buildings that mix stone and brickwork, particularly that great diapered brick design on the side of the building in the third photograph. I wish we'd see some of that today — I don't recall any contemporary building that mixes brick and stone . . .

Karena Albert said...

Stefan these are simply glorious. The homes, the follies and sculptures. Details abound!

The Arts by Karena
The Centre Cannot Hold

Dean Farris said...

Great post !
Good thing the parc is gated- since some really naughty things go on in Paris parks at night...

deana sidney said...

DOn't you just love it there? So many of us miss the far away places when we visit cities and just do the greatest hits. Your pictures bring back that lovely area
and the museum. I can't wait to see your pictures. One of my favs.'

Kirk Dale said...

A nice post. I shall be interested to read about your visit to the Musée Nissim de Camondo as we were there last year as well and loved it!
Bye for now,

Windlost said...

I've walked all the streets in that area. It is just so posh. The park is lovely. Thanks for sharing. Not a part of paris where I've spent much time. It just seems impossibly chic I am almost sad there. Haha. Xo