This photograph was taken from the Temple of Sybil, atop the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19th arrondisement of Paris. Previously a quarry the park was later landscaped under the remodeling of Paris directed by Baron Haussmann.
Originally called Montfaucon, the park was the site of a Paris gibbet between the 13th and 17th centuries. Here bodies were exhibited, left to decay, devoured by wolves and crows, then the remains cast in to a pit. The smell, apparently, would drift in the direction of Faubourg du Temple.
Later it was a sewage dump, then a knackers’ yard for horses and therefore fertile ground for all the unsavoury businesses that salvaged horse skins and horse hair. The quarrying left networks of tunnels that became the homes of beggars and robbers.
Rumour has it that the Temple of Sybil is the heart of a 19th century esoteric geographic pentacle and that the tunnels below lead to a secret room that contains occult treasures.
In 1871 it became a refuge of the Communards and was shelled by government forces from their position atop Montmartre. This photograph shows the view the Communards would have had of Montmarte.
Strangely enough it was the writings of Louis Aragon and the surrealists that cleansed the park of its darker reputation.
(Thanks to Wikipedia.fr and Paris, Biography of a City by Colin Jones for the detailed information).