On my recent travels through France, I stumbled par hasard (by chance), upon the Parc de la Tête d’Or (Park of the Golden Head). Having a dog certainly has its benefits and to be honest, if my little pup wasn’t with me at the time, I may have not visited the park as my time was limited. It was only because we were on our walkies that we fell into this beautiful site, and thank goodness we did!
Calling the Parc de la Tête d’Or a park, actually feels a little unsettling because it definitely does not give off the vibe of a standard urban park. The Parc de la Tête d’Or is without a doubt, the most peaceful, magical, serene, enchanting, beautiful, vast “park”, that I have ever come across. You might see this as a wild exaggeration on my part, but I am lucky to have travelled to six of our world’s seven continents, and my appreciation of and respect for mother nature always leads me to parks, gardens and reserves when I am travelling. I have yet to experience an urban park to rival the Parc de la Tête d’Or.
From the moment you step into the Parc, you feel transported into a tranquil zone, far away from the city centre. The trees, plants, fountains, birds, statues and sandy footpaths quickly zen you and help you forget your troubles. It is quite an incredible, and unexpected, sensation. The Parc is open to all and whilst it is busy with people, you also feel like you are alone. This feeling of a comfortable kind of solitude is a rare treasure in our hectic urban jungle lives. As I was walking through the park, I distinctly remember thinking to myself that this must be a private garden and not a public park, so perhaps I was even trespassing in certain areas. It was too beautiful, immaculate and elegant, therefore I must have been infringing some French rule that I was not aware of. But I wasn’t. The Parc de la Tête d’Or is a park that feels like a private secret garden, hidden at the end of a grand palace… the kind you read about in children’s stories where you quickly lose yourself in your own imagination. In my opinion, the Parc de la Tête d’Or is exactly that… a magical (secret) garden.
The Parc is the largest park in France, and was created by a landscape artist c.1856. I understand that since its creation, the park has remain unchanged. I find that fascinating in itself, given all that Lyon has experienced since then, but think of the stories these massively tall trees could tell. Within the vast area of the park, you can also visit a zoo, various rose gardens, a botanical garden, greenhouses, the boat house on the lake, and rather randomly, a velodrome.
I truly loved and treasure my moments exploring the Parc de la Tête d’Or. Please do not overlook a visit if you ever find yourself in Lyon, you will not regret it. In the word’s of Edith Piaf – “Non, rien de rien, Non, je ne regrette rien”.
Lyon, je t’adore! ❤