Parc Montsouris is a public park on the Rive Gauche (left bank of the River Seine.) Covering the area of 15 hectares, the park is stylised as an English garden, a genre popular since the early 19th century. It was commissioned by Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann as part of a plan to add green areas to Paris.
The area was originally called ‘moque souris’ (literally translated as ‘mock mice’) because it was inhabited by rodents. The name eventually evolved into Montsouris.
The park is bordered to the south by the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris (CIUP), to the north and east by residential flats, and to the west by the residential district along the avenue Général Leclerc. The water reservoir in the northeast portion of the park covers a historic entrance to the Paris catacombs.
The Parc Montsouris is a popular place for students from the adjacent Cité Universitaire. The main upper lawn was used once for a golf tournament. In the lower section of the park, an island in the middle of a tiny lake provides sanctuary to forty species of wild ducks, geese, herons, and other migratory birds. Some turtles imported from Florida, regularly sunbathe on the lake’s stony shores.