A hotel near the Montsouris reservoir? FRED HOTEL!
Located at 115 rue de la Tombe-Issoire at the edge of the Alésia neighbourhood, the Montsouris reservoir was built in 1858 by the famous Baron Haussmann among others. The modest reservoir located at Montsouris and fed by the polluted waters of the Seine was replaced by a gigantic reservoir. This is still in service and provides drinking water to two thirds of Parisians and is literally an underground cathedral.
History of the Montsouris water reservoir in Paris
Construction dating from the 19th century
The Montsouris reservoir was built in the stone quarries extending under Paris at the end of the 19th century. At the time it was 225 metres long, 135 metres wide, and its 2-metre thick walls maintain it at a constant temperature. At the time of its construction it was the largest reservoir in the world. At the time drawing from the Seine river, it provided clean drinking water to Parisians. It now collects water from the Vanne, in the Aube department and the Fontainebleau region.
The Montsouris reservoir, a cathedral of underground water
From the outside, the Montsouris reservoir looks like a rectangular grass-covered hill. Who would know that hidden under this mound is 20% of the water used daily by Parisians? The secret lies under this mysterious mound. Underground is an immense “cathedral” of water with more than 1800 stone arches, composed of four tanks 254 metres long and 127 wide, with a capacity of 300 000 m3. If you’ve read our article on the Catacombs of Paris, you will know that stone quarries formed under Paris after it was once covered by a tropical sea, and these were operated to supply the capital with building stone. Montsouris reservoir arose out of one of these huge quarries, like a massive cave filled with shimmering water, and where 70 000 m3 of water arrives every day.
The reservoir, its low tides and high tides
Fun fact: the Montsouris reservoir operates like the tides; it empties out at the peak water consumption times of Parisians. The Montsouris reservoir operators observe a “low tide” at peak consumption time when Parisians all take their morning shower. Another interesting fact? There are trout swimming in the crystal clear water of the Montsouris reservoir. They were originally housed there to attest to the water’s purity.
The Pavillon de la Porte d’Arcueil offers a view over the Montsouris reservoir
As the reservoir holds a fifth of Paris’s drinking water reserves it is a protected site and unfortunately is no longer accessible to the general public. Indeed, the storage of drinking water is strictly controlled: it needs to be kept at a constant temperature of 10°C. It has been closed for visits since 2001 to avoid any risk of contamination (except once a year on European Heritage Days). However, the Pavillon de la Porte d’Arcueil overlooks the reservoir and you can view inside it from there. A space inside the Pavilion is reserved as an information point to raise awareness and provide information on Parisian water.
FRED HÔTEL near the Montsouris reservoir
FRED HÔTEL near the Montsouris reservoir is only a 20-minute walk from the site or 20 minutes by public transport. The Montsouris reservoir is near our hotel, in the Alésia neighbourhood, and ideal spot for a stopover.
Walking from the FRED HÔTEL to the Montsouris reservoir: leaving FRED HÔTEL, turn left into rue Villemain and then take rue d'Alésia. Once at the Petit-Montrouge roundabout, head right on the avenue du General Leclerc. Turn left into rue Beaunier until you get to place Jules Henaffe, from where you can access the Montsouris reservoir.
By public transport from FRED HÔTEL to Montsouris reservoir: go to the bus stop Plaisance - Hopital Saint Joseph and take line 62 direction Porte de France. Get off at Tombe Issoire. Walk up to Place des Droits de l’Enfant and take a right onto rue de la Tombe Issoire. Walk for 6 minutes to get to the Montsouris reservoir.
Practical information on the Montsouris reservoir
Find additional information on the official site, including info on guided tours.
- 113-115 Rue de la Tombe Issoire, Paris 75014, +33140922450
- Metro Alésia or Porte d’Orléans: Metro 4
- Bus: 88
A little side tour of the Square de Montsouris
The Square de Montsouris, near the Parc de Montsouris and the Montsouris reservoir is a breath of fresh air. Take a stroll and admire the beautiful homes once inhabited by artists, and at the end of the Square you will come to a building designed by the architect Le Corbusier.