At the initiative of Napoleon III, working with Baron Haussmann, the Parc Montsouris, the second largest park in Paris after the Buttes Chaumont, was built on Moc Souris hill, once covered with undergrowth that the market gardeners used for fuel (mineral coal) for their hothouses, which were built in the surrounding area.
The quarter in which the park is located was originally most famous for what it held underground: the Montsouris quarries were a source of stone for construction work. A report written in the 18th century even cited the stone quarried at Montsouris as being unquestionably the best, hardest material for use in Paris buildings.
The construction work on the park was completed in 1878 (after being interrupted by the war of 1870) by Alphand, the department head for the Promenades de Paris, and the landscape architect Barillet-Deschamps. At the time, the fashion was for the English-style gardens so admired by Napoléon III. Alphand and Barillet-Deschamps combined this with ideas then current in France and defined an original style that had a considerable impact.