Paris Sightseeing (Part 1 of 2)Paris is one of the European cities boasting dozens of stunning parks, and other outdoor/landscaped sites, including cemeteries. Two of the parks that visitors to Paris might put on their itinerary, are the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and the Bois de Boulogne.
Parc des Buttes-ChaumontThe Parc des Buttes-Chaumont derives its name from the combination of two French words, "mont", for mountain, and "chauve", which means bald: A feature of the area until late in the 1800s, was a bare-faced lime mining operation.
It has a tragic past for such a charming area, beginning with an invasion by the Normans in 885 A.D. and on through the Middle Ages, when the west side of the hill featured the infamous Montfaucon gallows.
In 1862, Paris bought the quarries, and Napoléon III commissioned the park as a monument to plants, and so it remains, amazing in its variety, and surprising in its design of open spaces.
Bois de BoulogneThe Bois de Boulogne is a feast of trees, including beech, oak, cherry, redwood, cedar, lime, chestnut and elm, all surrounding the lawns, 35 kilometres of footpaths, eight kilometres of cycling paths, and 29 kilometres of riding or bridle paths.
The park also offers visitors such amenities as a swimming pool, sports track, bike and boat rentals, as well as a variety of cafes.
Montparnasse CemeteryFor admirors of sculpture and landscaping with a healthy dose of curiosity, there are a number of famous cemeteries, including Montparnasse and Père Lachaise.
The Montparnasse Cemetery is ranked third in size for the city of Paris, and contains the last resting places of many Parisian and other French intellectuals. It is well worth a visit purely for a tour of the monuments, some from the early 1800s and others from only a decade ago.
Buying a map on entering the gates can save you a great deal of time searching out a particular grave, and can help you plan a leisurely walk through the well laid out paths.
Père Lachaise is the most famous... [Continued]
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