The Parc Moutsouris
The Parc Montsouris covers 15 hectares and is built on top of a labyrinth of former gypsum quarries from the Montrouge mines. These quarries were made into catacombs at the end of the 18th century and filled with 5-6 million bones from discontinued cemeteries of Paris.The name of the park is derived from the old name of the area "Moquesouris" translated as "mock mouse". It was a place of mills which generally attract mice. Later, these mills were abandoned. The area is also the place of the 13th century legend of the giant Isoire being slain by Guillaume d'Aquitainesh.Engineer Jean Charles Adolphe Alphand was given the job of designing the park. Alphand was kept very busy by Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann, designing such parks as the ones mentioned above, as well as Parc Montsouris.
Work began on the Parc Montsouris in 1865. The main technical difficulty was that two rail lines ran through the area, the Sceaux line, running north-south, and the Petit-Ceinture line going east-west. The Sceaux line, also known as the Paris-St.Germain-en-Laye line was the first railway in France. It was changed to run underground through Parc Montsouris and is now the RER line B, which continues to run through the Parc, dividing it in two. The Petit-Ceinture line was dismantled.
Another complication of the park's development was the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. It was during this war, on September 2, at the Battle of Sedan where Napoleon III was captured. He was then deposed in Paris two days later by his political opponents with a parliamentary coup. He died in exile in England on January 9, 1873.
The construction of the park was not completed until 1878 at a cost of 1,750,000 francs