The Monceau Park.

Between 1769 and 1773, the Duke of Chartres had Colignon build the folie de Chartres, a two-story octagonal pavilion surrounded by a French garden, built on a one-hectare plot of land in “Mousseau” (now Parc Monceau)3. Later, the first floor was completed with four star-shaped galleries

Between 1773 and 1779, in order to compete with the gardens of Bagatelle, Ermenonville and the desert of Retz, and even with the latest developments at Versailles, the Duke decided to create a larger Anglo-Chinese style garden on these twenty hectares and asked Carmontelle, the organizer of his festivities, to design a “land of illusions” with garden factories: Swiss farm, Dutch mills, pagoda, pyramid, feudal ruins, Roman temple scattered along rugged paths, clumps of trees and islands. A collection of engravings presents various views of the park, “ruins of a temple of Mars, Gothic castle, Dutch mill, Tatar tents”… A river is dug, feeding a large basin intended for representations of naval fights, and caves are erected to shelter games or snacks.

Finally, between 1781 and the death of the Duke in 1793, the development of the new lands acquired to the north and east, as well as the modifications of the park (repair of the paths, enlargement of the hot greenhouses, planting of trees) were entrusted to Thomas Blaikie with the objective of making it an English garden5.

The place was successively praised by the Abbé Delille (Les Jardins ou l’Art d’embellir les paysages, 1782) and by Luc-Vincent Thiéry (Guide des amateurs et des étrangers voyageurs à Paris, 1787).

Two watercolor drawings by Claude Mathieu Delagardette (1762-1805) entitled Relevé du nouveau berceau ou jardin d’hiver de Monceau. Plan above the grotto. Plan de la grotte, dated 1783, appeared in a March 30, 2015 public auction (Monceau anglais, article signed AF in La Gazette Drouot, no. 12, March 27, 2015, p. 33, ill.).

In 1787, part of the garden was amputated to allow Ledoux to build “an observation office on the plain” known as the Barrière de Chartres (rotonde), a grant pavilion surrounded by a peristyle of sixteen columns, as part of the construction of the barriers of the Fermiers généraux wall; its first floor and second floor were occupied by the offices of the Ferme générale, while the duke had the upper terrace to enjoy the view of his garden. The columns with smooth shafts and the upper dome were modified in 1861.

During the Revolution, the garden was confiscated and became national property in 1793. In 1797, André-Jacques Garnerin, aerialist of the public festivals, made the first parachute jump in history by taking off from a hot air balloon.

After the Revolution, the park in pitiful state is restored to the family of Orleans; between 1802 and 1806, the madness is demolished and another pavilion is built in its place, works and a tighter plan implemented; the Orleans sell, then repurchase in 1819.

Shortly before 1830, the son of the duke, the future Louis-Philippe, king of the French, had the Temple of Mars moved to the enchanted garden of his castle in Neuilly6 ; it was somewhat modified to become the Temple of Love at Neuilly-sur-Seine.

In 1860, the construction of the Boulevard Malesherbes allowed the State to expropriate the garden, which was reduced to 18 hectares and a few acres; the City of Paris retained only 86,000 m2 of the 184.

Under the direction of Adolphe Alphand, an engineer from the Ponts et Chaussées, in charge of the Promenades Department, the park and its surroundings were developed over 8.4 hectares and inaugurated in 1861; Gabriel Davioud was in charge of the monumental entrances with their large golden gates. Some of the old factories were preserved and combined with new elements: the river and its bridge, the waterfall and the grotto. In the grotto, the first stalactites in artificial cement are an invention of the contractor Combaz.

In 1861, the rest of the park was sold to the Pereire brothers who created a housing estate whose streets were to remain closed by gates; the Pereire, Rothschild, Cernuschi, Ménier and Camondo families then built large private mansions whose gardens overlooked the park.

During the Bloody Week of the Paris Commune (May 21-28, 1871), firing squads were set up in the park, using the “batch” system, to execute summary judgments handed down by the provost courts of the Châtelet, the École Polytechnique, the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l’Est.

A Renaissance arcade of the Hôtel de Ville de Paris, destroyed in 1871, is installed in the park.

Statues of musicians, writers, poets accompanied by their muses and their inspirations took place on the lawns of the park in the late nineteenth century recalling that this new district was at the time inhabited by many artists and writers

Statues of musicians, writers, and poets accompanied by their muses and inspirers were placed on the lawns of the park at the end of the 19th century, reminding us that this new neighborhood was inhabited at the time by many artists and writers who often strolled through the park.


In 1982, a Japanese lantern (tōrō) was placed in the park, near the pyramid, to symbolize the friendship between Paris and Tokyo

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