Few parks are 100% as nature made them. But the faux @ Parc des Buttes Chaumont in Paris is quite something. Here very few things are what they seem (ie authentic). Even the bois is faux. At least the bois used in handrails and steps. Made of cement they fooled me for some time. The designers must have had a laugh, but were also cutting edge using a material about to conquer the world around the time of the construction of the park.
Buttes Chaumont celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2017.
Buttes Chaumont was officially inaugurated as a park in 1867. Before then it had been pretty much anything but that. It has a gruesome history of being a scene for hangings, being a dump, cutting up horse carcasses and a depository for sewage. It was a breeding ground for bad bacteria and similar spreading to neighbouring areas. Another part of the land was used for mining gypsum and limestone. After this was no longer feasible, the land was a no-go zone. Until it was decided to make a park out of it.
The overall plan was laid out by Jean-Charles Adolphe Alphand, who also supervised the construction. It was no mean feat. It took two years just to terrace the land. The landscape was completely remade, incorporating a lake, lawns and hills, a grotto with a waterfall and much more. Then came the planting of suitable vegetation, and the addition of a Sibylla Temple.
Faux bois handrail
Faux bois steps
The architectural features of the park, such as the gatehouse and cafés have a flair of a picturesque and rustic style. When it opened it became an immediate hit with the fast growing population of Paris. It’s today the city’s fifth largest park.
Bridge popular with people attempting suicide. Now fenced with wire mesh.
Grotto with waterfall @ Parc des Buttes Chaumont