From Roses to Wildlife: Parc de la Tête d’Or’s Riches

An Enchanting Urban Park in France

One of the largest and best urban parks in France, Lyon’s Parc de la Tête d’Or features a zoo, lake, gardens, pony rides, and a miniature train. Here, in the midst of unspoiled nature, you may relax and unwind away from the stresses of life in the city. There are miles of paths to explore, open fields to run and play in, or you can simply relax with a picnic.

The park was first established in 1857, and it has since expanded with the addition of attractions like gardens and greenhouses. There is a rumor that an unknown treasure is buried in the park.

Simply cross the Rhone from the Opera and head northeast to reach Lyon’s Parc de la Tête d’Or. The trip may be completed in under 15 minutes. Parking is accessible close by if you drive, and the metro and buses are also convenient options.

Paved pathways that are very flat and simple to travel, make the majority of the park accessible to those with mobility impairments. With the use of an interactive map, visitors can quickly locate their preferred attractions anywhere in the park. The park has something for everyone, so bring the kids.

Parc de la Tête d'Or
Parc de la Tête d’Or

Hundreds of plant species from all over the world may be found in the glass greenhouses and botanical gardens in Lyon’s famous Parc de la Tête d’Or, which date back to the late 18th century. There are 30,000 rose bushes here, representing 350 distinct species. The zoo is the second in France and features 400 animals from 64 different species.

There are plenty of routes for walking, running, and riding bicycles. In order to enjoy the water, you can go boating on a lake. Finally, children like the merry-go-round, swings, pony rides, tiny train trips, pedal vehicles, and small boats.

The park’s “Little Train,” a tourist train pulled by a locomotive built in 1948, is a major attraction. Taking a ride on this train will give you a great overview of the park and everything it has to offer.

History of Parc de la Tête d’or

Founded in the same year as New York’s famed Central Park, 1857, by brothers Denis and Eugène Buhler, Le Parc de la Tete d’Or has undergone a number of expansions over the years.

In 1865, the park added impressive glass houses housing plants and flowers from all over the world, and in the 1960s, the park added rose gardens with 30,000 rose bushes featuring 350 different varieties.

The park gets its name from a myth that a treasure containing the “head of Christ” is buried there.

History of Parc de la Tête d'or
History of Parc de la Tête d’or

The area has been known by its current name, “La Tête d’Or,” long before the park was ever established. Indeed, the tradition claims that the Crusaders buried a treasure there, and among the items buried was Christ’s golden head.

According to legend, in 1855, someone hired a clairvoyant lady to locate the priceless artifact. Nonetheless, no matter how hard she looked, she was unable to track it down again. Whether the story of the golden head is true or not, its mystery has yet to be unraveled.

To “give nature to those who don’t have any,” Lyon’s prefect and mayor Claude-Marius Vasse lobbied for the creation of the park in the 19th century. Denis and Eugène Bühler, landscape architects, along with engineer Gustave Bonnet, were awarded the commission for the building in 1856.

After starting construction in 1860, the park finally opened to the public in 1861. In 1865, the zoological section opened, and in 1887, the botanical garden was established. In contrast, the rose garden is a relatively modern addition, having been constructed in 1961.

The zoo and Botanical gardens of Parc de la Tête d’or

The second public zoo in France after Paris’ Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes is home to around 400 animals from 64 species.

Parc de la Tête d'or in France
Parc de la Tête d’or in France

The zoo has undergone significant renovations over the past decade, with the most recent addition being the 2006 African Savannah, home to zebra, giraffes, and pink flamingos. The zoo is committed to saving endangered species and is an active participant in the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA).

The botanical gardens were established in 1796 by Poullain-Grandprey on the southern slopes of La Croix Rousse.

The current park location for the gardens was chosen in 1857, and in 1860 the glass buildings were built to accommodate the introduction of tropical and equatorial plants and flowers. Education, preservation, and study are the gardens’ top priorities.

How to get to Parc de la Tête d’or?

Northeast of Lyon’s downtown, in the 6th arrondissement, you’ll find the park.

The quickest route there is to walk north for about 15 minutes from the Opera, over the Rhone River.

You may take bus C1, C6, or C38 from the Hotel de Ville after taking the metro line A to Massena.

You may park your car for free on Boulevard Stalingrad or Boulevard des Belges, both of which are close to la Cité Internationale.

Parc de la Tête d'or, France
Parc de la Tête d’or, France


Tête d’Or Park was opened to the public in 1856 after being created by landscape architect Denis Bühler. Among its more than 20,000 plant species are an international rose garden and a zoological section dedicated to species of the African plains, making it one of the premier botanical gardens in France.

The Parc de la Tête d’Or is Lyon‘s largest and most well-known park.

The 105-hectare urban park was opened in 1857 and was modeled after English landscape gardens. A 17-hectare lake was formed when a tributary of the Rhône was dammed.

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