• LOCATION 2 | Highlights Around Parc Montsouris: From Hidden Water to Secret Villages

    Eugène Belgrand

    Eugène Belgrand on Paris audio tour Highlights Around Parc Montsouris: From Hidden Water to Secret Villages

    As you walk, on your right-hand side, is the noisy boulevard Jourdan, and to your left is the Cité Universitaire Internationale, the international student campus. Further to your left is the boulevard périphérique, the ring highway going around Paris, and even further are the suburbs, where Paris' drinkable water comes from.

    It was Eugène Belgrand's idea to look for water beyond the city walls. He was a hydraulics engineer, and in 1854 he joined the team of the famous Préfet Haussmann, who was in charge of modernizing Paris. At the time, France was ruled by Emperor Napoléon III - I hated that guy! Can you believe Napoléon III hired investigators to spy on me, the Comte de Saint-Germain, in order to steal the secret of my immortality? One day I'll tell you how I managed to get rid of their files.

    Napoleon III put Haussmann in charge of reorganizing Paris, and Haussmann, in turn, put Belgrand in charge of the water. Belgrand designed a modern sewer system, and trust me, this was a blessing because boy did Paris stink before that! Belgrand realized that water from the river Seine was muddy and polluted, so not ideal for drinking…. but could be used for cleaning streets or flushing sewers! To find drinkable water, he had to send teams of workers more than 100km away to find clean water sources, and they built aqueducts to bring that water right here, under our feet.

    Please keep walking straight ahead.

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Highlights Around Parc Montsouris: From Hidden Water to Secret Villages