The Grand Cascade at the Bois de Boulogne!

Here we are in Summer, and need places of shade and coolness, so why not head for a park and even better with plenty of water. Wait, you are in Paris, well no problem, the big city has plenty of parks and water spots. I like to tell you about a favorite of my family.

We really did not seek this even if I worked for a while not far across the Seine river. Seeking always new things to see in our belle France, I notice this big park, the Bois de Boulogne. Yes ,it is big ,but it has many things to see here. I rather just tell you about one, the Grand Cascade. The big waterfall!

PAris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Napoleon III, an emperor like his more-famous uncle, loved waterfalls as much as he loved hunting. So, when he ordered the massive renovation of Paris in the second half of the 19C, he was going to make sure there were waterfalls at the end of it.

He instructed his city planner, Baron Haussmann, to turn the royal forest on the west of Paris, the Bois de Boulogne  into a large park complete with lakes, 420,000 trees, waterfowl, and deer to hunt. And, of course, a big waterfall. La Grande Cascade was built in 1856 with four thousand cubic meters of  rock brought in from Fontainebleau, and two thousand cubic meters of cement. The lakes and the waterfall are fed with water from a canal on the Ourcq River, so that in this case the waterfall is gravity-fed. In addition to the picturesque waterfall, it has two artificial grottoes. one over the other, which can be visited.   What’s special is that you can walk inside the grottos behind the cascade and view the lake and the park through the falling water.

Paris

There was a hunting lodge ,later expanded and turned into what is today a Michelin-starred restaurant also called La Grande Cascade, one of our more enjoyable restaurant experiences in Paris. Located at Allée de Longchamp, 16éme arrondissement of Paris. More here: Restaurant La Grande Cascade

A bit of history I like on the Bois de Boulogne, briefly.

The Bois de Boulogne is a remnant of the ancient oak forest of Rouvray, which included the present-day forests of Montmorency, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Chaville, and Meudon. Today is a large public park located along the western edge of the 16éme arrondissement of Paris near the cities of Boulogne-Billancourt and Neuilly-sur-Seine, both in Hauts de Seine dept 92. The land was ceded to the city of Paris by the Emperor Napoléon III to be turned into a public park in 1852.

The Bois de Boulogne received its present name from a chapel, Notre Dame de Boulogne la Petite, which was built in the forest at the command of king Philippe IV of France . In 1308, Philippe  made a pilgrimage to Boulogne-sur-Mer, on the French coast, to see a statue of the Virgin Mary which was reputed to inspire miracles. He decided to build a Church with a copy of the statue in a village in the forest not far from Paris, in order to attract pilgrims. The chapel was built after Philippe’s death between 1319 and 1330, in what is now the city of Boulogne-Billancourt.

What things you can see here beside the Grande Cascade.

Within the boundaries of the Bois de Boulogne are an English landscape garden with several lakes and a cascade; two smaller botanical and landscape gardens, the Château de Bagatelle and the Pré-Catelan; a zoo and amusement park , the Jardin d’Acclimatation; also , the GoodPlanet Foundation’s Domaine de Longchamp dedicated to ecology and humanism, The Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil , a complex of greenhouses holding a hundred thousand plants; two tracks for horse racing, the Hippodrome de Longchamp and the Hippodrome d’Auteuil,  a tennis stadium , Roland Garros, where the French Open tennis tournament is held each year, and windmills, etc.

Paris

Napoleon III, in order to decorate its stops in the wood, built the Buffet of the waterfall in 1856. Enlarged for the Universal exhibition of 1900 it is enlarged and adopts a Belle Epoque decor. Damaged during the bombardment, in 1870, the pavilion was demolished around 1950. It is replaced by the current restaurant of the Grande Cascade , its style retro-modern.

Its creation date, its environment and its vegetation bring it a lot of charm. It can be a step in your walk in visiting this green lung from Paris. In the setting sun, the orange light shaving brings very colorful touches to this waterfall. A wonderful spot in Paris especially in Summer and Fall. Bring the whole family going under the grotto waterfall is fun!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Paris on Bois de Boulogne

Tourist office of Paris on the Bois de Boulogne

You will have a good time here for sure. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments to “The Grand Cascade at the Bois de Boulogne!”

  1. This really sounds like a place I would enjoy visiting, even in a city!

    Liked by 1 person

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