Paris and the Jardin d’Acclimatation!

Time to write about gardens but not just any garden , France has thousands, and Paris hundreds, some are historical wonders, and others follies to sink in, this one is for the dreamer the kid in all of us. I have taken my boys here when younger days of  visiting France, and then as teens while living here; it is wonderful and now better than ever.

I usually tell you the history I like and then some; this time will start in reverse ok.

The Jardin d’Acclimatation has reopen on June 1st better than ever! The ambiance is SteamPunk on the old Paris style. The luxury group  LVMH has invested 60M€ to create a park to rival the major better known in the ile de France region where Paris is located. They are hoping for 3 milllions visitors by  2025, and they started out with a bang surpassing the estimates for the first week attendance.

They have put together 40 attractions of which 17  are new and 4 roller coasters, as well as 500 animals from exotic birds, goats, rabbits, lambs etc, 16 restaurants,and  18 hectares of natural forest setting. There are petting zoo for teens, ,a nature reserve park with animals and a sport trail all to make it a must stop in Paris.

These 18 hectares or acres of natural reserve are blend in with the attractions to give it a green effect . In the small farm you can see animals ready for your children to meet up close. You can imagine a marriage between a Harry Potter universe and that of the Lords of the Rings or even Jules Verne or Victor Cabret. All in an architecture of the 19C with bronces, copper and lead metallic à la tour Eiffel are in place.

The emblematic Dragon of the park has been renovated with a new look and the roller coasters are in a vapor train style.  Some of the new rides are bobsleigh of 12 meters high in an airplane turbine type setting, as well as flying boats.  There is an admission forfait to see all for 29€.  Otherwise, you can go in to the park without the rides for 3,5 to 5€ and even can buy the ticket on cellular/mobile telephones apps.

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Opening hours from June 1 to November 30 2018 location is Jardin d’Acclimatation ,Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi Paris 16 , between the porte de Neuilly and the  porte des Sablons in the bois de Boulogne, along the boulevard Maurice-Barrès (Neuilly-sur-Seine).  The park garden is accessable on the Metro line 1 out at les Sablons that is about 400 meters from the main gate via the rue d’Orléans. Or as we always do, go to line out at Porte Maillot and take the petit train (little train) that will take you to the main entrance of the garden park.  This petit train is a railroad line in narrow gauge of 50 cm and opened in 1878, to connect the Porte Maillot to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, on a distance of 800 meters. It is the first line in France on narrow gauge carrying passengers! The garden park is also reach by bus on lines  43, 73, 82, 93, PC1 ,and 174. There is underground parking at Porte Maillot. More info on the petit train here/ Petit Train

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Jardin d’Acclimatation official webpage:  https://www.jardindacclimatation.fr/en

So now will give a bit of history I like

The transformation of the Bois de Boulogne in 1852 calls for the creation of a garden park at the entrance to the Forest,and for this reason an association was created in 1854. The association had as an objective to the contribution and introduction of the acclimations of animal species for agriculture ends, commercial or entertainment. By 1858, the association obtained from the city of Paris a concession space of about 15 hectares bordering the Bois de Boulogne to create a garden park of useful animals in the country. At the same time, in 1859, Emperor Napoléon III gives the concession of another 4 hectares; the garden park is opened by emperor Napoléon III in 1860.

The garden park is closed to the public during the war of 1870, prohibited the entrance of the public and used to raise animals to feed the population in case of an attack.  During this time some animals are evacuated to other zoo parks outside of France but as the transports are paralysed and Paris is attack on all fronts.  The winter is hard and the rationing is not enough; some of the last animals are killed for feeding the population such as the elephants Castor and Pollux.  At the end of the siege there is only one animal left.

Here it was created Human expositions as wild humans for quite some time. In 1877, some Nubians are shown ,and so on for the next quarter century about 22 huamn expositions are done . The majority of these were of African origins but alos Indians,  Laplanders, and Cossacks. The human expo are done at the same time as the animals on many cases from the same region.  These wild exhibitionis of the 19C creates huge arguments of the days as the humans were enclosed in cages as well as animals next to them.  The garden park becomes in this period a high place of Anthropology in Paris. For the next quarter century that follows the pace of these exhibitions slows down as they were about 15 between 1903 to 1931 the date of the last one. Later ones took a more colonial feel with the tribes shown between each others from all the France colonial such as Sénégal, South Africa,  New Caledonia, etc.

By  1929, the land of the garden park owned by the city of Paris is transfered to the city of Neuilly-sur-Seine, and then  to the 16e arrondissement of Paris.  In the 1960’s , the garden is renovated and a national museum of arts and popular traditions set up here in 1969 in a new building.  There is a small petting zoo farm opening in 1971,a theater in 1973,  a lawn(grass) museum in 1975. The tent of Silvia Monfort  is set up two years later in 1978. The garden park goes oriental with a tea house, a black lacque bridge, and later a Korean garden.  The before mentioned museum is closed out in 2005, and the last scientific works of the grass museum are gone too.

In 2006, the group LVMH gets the authorisation to build the Fondation Louis-Vuitton, designed by Architect Frank Gehry, on the site of the old bowling of the garden park that was demolished in 2014. The concession of the garden park to LVMH is renovated for 25 years ending in 2041. As this is done, the group LVMH promise to invest and renovate the garden park  as mention in the first part of this post.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to those already given above are:

Tourist office of Paris in English: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71282/Jardin-d-Acclimatation

The webpage of the management company the luxury group LVMH  on the jardin: https://www.lvmh.com/houses/other-activities/jardin-dacclimatation/

There you go folks, a wonderful garden park of many family memories and open to all. You need to visit it is great and now better than ever. If you have children or young teens this is a must indeed in your travels to Paris. Hope you have enjoy the post.

And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

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