Tete d'Or Park

Tête d'Or Park is open to the public, free of charge. It is one of France's largest and finest urban parks. Located in the 6th arrondissement, it features a large lake on which boating takes place during the summer months. Due to the relatively small number of other parks in Lyon, it receives a huge number of visitors over summer, and is a frequent destination for joggers and cyclists. At the northern end of the park, there is a small zoo, with giraffes, elephants, tigers and other animals.

History
On February 22, 1856, in a meeting of the city council, Senator Vaïsse, Prefect and Mayor of Lyon, convinced his fellow members of the board that the people of Lyon needed a new and vast leisure ground. The Tête d'Or domain 105 hectares (262 acres) was subsequently purchased from the Lyon Hospices. The aim of the city council was to "offer a piece of countryside to those who have none". The works began in 1857 and lasted for five years.
The development project was handed over to the famous landscape designers Eugène and Denis Bühler, who created the park around a man-made lake. The walkways were drawn in vast gentle curves, panoramic views were planned from the entryways and around the lake. The domain is enhanced by a careful choice of trees for their particular shape and type of leaves. Denis Bühler also designed the parks buildings, greenhouses and fixtures.

The Rose Garden

The International Rose Garden of Lyon occupies 40,000 sq. m. and counts 30,000 bushes and 350 varieties. There are also two other rose gardens, that of the botanical garden which recounts the history of the rose, and that of the competition garden which participates in the International Competition of New Roses.

The Trees
Tête d'Or Park is graced with over 8800 trees, of which 36.5% conifers, 61% deciduous, 2.5% rare species.
Among the more remarkable specimens are plane trees soaring 40 meters, cedars of Lebanon, Virginia tulip trees, gingko biloba and bald cypresses. A guidebook for a stroll through the trees is available at the Park office.

Botanical garden
The botanical gardens of Lyon, created in 1796 on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse, were transferred to the Tête d'Or Park in 1857. It grew to include plants from all over the world and is now the largest municipal botanical garden in France. I currently covers 8 hectares (19 acres), with 6500 sq. m of hothouses.
Free guided tours are available Monday through Friday.

The Zoo
In 1922-1924, an elephant house was built, along with an area for the big cats.

The African Plain
An African plain - an area devoted to themes of biodiversity and sustainable development as seen in a tree savanna environmental niche - was opened in 2006.
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