Created on the Moc Souris hill following orders from Napoleon III working at the time with the Baron Haussmann, the Parc Montsouris was the second largest park in Paris after the Buttes Chaumont park.
The Moc Souris hill was covered in grassland from which the local market-gardeners would extract coke in order to power their nearby nurseries.
The neighbourhood of the park was famed at first for what its soil held… The Montsouris quarries were exploited for stones used in building.
An XVIIth century report even states that the stone quarried in Montsouris was without contest the very best and solid of all the stone used at the time by the Bâtiments de Paris.
The work for the developing of the Park ended in 1878, after having been interrupted by the war in 1870.
The site was entrusted to Alphand, head of the Promenades de Paris department, and to the landscape architect Barillet-Deschamps.
The fashion, in those days, was an english garden style greatly appreciated by Napoleon III. Alphand and Barillet-Deschamps, taking this into account, created an original style which was to have considerable influence.
It may be noted that Alphand remains, in Paris, a figurehead of urban remodeling during the Empire; in thirty-seven years he completely transformed the bois de Boulogne, the bois de Vincennes, the Champs Elysées and the Parc Monceau— as well as creating the Buttes Chaumont, Montsouris and Champs de Mars parks, and most of the smaller public gardens, like for instance that of the Tour Saint-Jacques.
In the lake, provided for by a waterfall from the Bièvre, swans and mallard ducks swim peacefully.
The harmonious lanes, footpaths for contemplation, the diversity of the abundant flora and fauna… all was designed for the sheer pleasure of strolling!