Bois de Boulogne (le bois de Boulogne) in Paris


Modern Bois de Boulogne (le bois de Boulogne), covering an area of ​​8,4 km2 - this is only a small part of the endless forest of Rouvre approaching Paris from the west side in the 1st millennium AD. It got its name from the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Boulogne, built in 1319-1330 by order of King Philip the Handsome, in the village of lumberjacks Menul-les-Saint-Clos on the southern edge of the forest.

Royal estates

The Bois de Boulogne has been known from historical sources since the beginning of the 8th century. In 717 it is mentioned in the Rite of Compiègne as a gift from King Childeric II to the powerful Abbey of Saint-Denis. About 450 years later, Philip Augustus buys most of the forest from the monks in order to hunt in these places.

During the Hundred Years War, the Bois de Boulogne becomes a very dangerous place, as it often hides numerous bandit gangs of the British. In the years 1416-1417, a particularly large number of people died there due to the frequent attacks of the armed forces of the Burgundian duke. In the same years, a significant part of the forest was destroyed by fires.

Under Louis XI, the burnt areas of the forest were planted with new trees and new roads were laid. In 1528, Francis I ordered the construction of a royal residence on the edge of the forest near Neuilly-sur-Seine, which became known as the Chateau de Madrid (Le château de Madrid) and the Chateau de Boulogne (Château de Boulogne). Since that time, the Bois de Boulogne has become a favorite vacation spot for the court nobility. The castle itself was later destroyed during the revolution at the end of the 18th century.

The royal hunting grounds in the forest under Henry III are surrounded by a high hedge with eight gates. His successor, King Henry 3, seeks to develop sericulture in France and, for this purpose, orders 4 thousand mulberry trees to be planted in the forest. In 15, the magnificent park of the Comte d'Artois with a "toy palace" appeared in the center of the forest Bagatelle.

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Until the end of the 18th century. on the territory of the Bois de Boulogne there was another now lost castle - Château de la Mette (Le château de la Muette). In the 16th century it was the main residence of Margaret of Valois after her divorce from Henry of Navarre. In 1783, the first balloon flight of Montgolfier began from the lawn near its walls. A modern building with the same name was built on this site by the architect L. Hesse in 1920-1921 for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In the early post-revolutionary years, the Bois de Boulogne became the last refuge for people persecuted by the revolutionary Convention. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1814-1815, a huge military camp was deployed on the territory of the forest, in which 40 thousand soldiers of the Russian and British armies were housed. Their stay caused significant damage to the forest, to replenish which, until 1830, massive plantings of American oak were carried out.

Imperial conversions

In 1853, the Emperor Napoleon III acquired the Bois de Boulogne from the City Hall of Paris and from that moment a new chapter was written in its history. Architects J. Hitrof, engineer Zh-Sh were invited to update the forest layout. Alphand and landscape designer J.P.B.Deschamp. The course of the work, which lasted 4 years, was supervised by the prefect of the department of the Seine, Baron Haussmann.

As a result, the emperor's wish to create a forest park modeled on Hyde Park was partially realized. Many winding paths appeared in the Bois de Boulogne, the relief was transformed, and on the Var brook, two large artificial lakes with islands were created, connected by a channel with a cascade of waterfalls. In addition, 200 thousand trees of various species were planted to renew the forest.

A Swiss-style chalet was built on an island in the Lower Lake, which opened the restaurant Le Chalet Des Iles. In 1855-1858, the first Longchamp hippodrome was built on a flat stretch of forest. At the same time, in the area of ​​the future Boulogne-Billancourt on the outskirts of the Bois de Boulogne, the construction of luxury mansions was allowed.

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During the siege of Paris in 1870, many trees in the forest were severely damaged by artillery fire from the warring parties, especially in the Mare d'Auteuil forest area, since one of the French batteries was located here. After the war, the second Otoy racecourse, built in 1873, was opened in the forest.

In the city limits (20-21st century)

In 1925, the Bois de Boulogne, and until that year economically owned by the city hall of Paris, was annexed to the French capital in administrative and territorial terms. Since that time, all works on its improvement are under the jurisdiction of the administration of the 16th district of the capital. About 56% of the trees growing here belong to various subspecies of oaks. A significant area of ​​the forest is also occupied by pine groves and thickets of acacia.

86 km of paths for various purposes have been laid through the forest: for hiking, horse riding, jogging and cycling. Several dozen fountains are the adornment of the forest park. In addition to the largest Upper and Lower lakes, there are other reservoirs in the forest, including the Suren ponds, St. James, Longchamps, Boulogne, Armenouville and several small rivers. After a walk, you can relax and recuperate in one of 18 cafes and restaurants in any corner of the forest.

Since 1925 in the Bois de Boulogne, the French open tennis championship, the Rolland-Garos tournament, has been held. The specially built stadium for him was expanded in 1968 and 1986-1992. Currently, there is a new project for its reconstruction in the coming years.

In addition to sports facilities on the territory of the forest, there is a riding school, branches of the Botanical Garden, Bagatelle Park and greenhouse auteuil, a garden for acclimatization of exotic plants, a children's amusement park and a small zoo.

The Bois de Boulogne is a wonderful place for recreation and entertainment for Parisians and guests of the city of any age, but it is undesirable to visit it in the evening with children, since at this time of day on its alleys you can often meet people offering various sexual services.

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Getting there

Address: Bois de Boulogne, Paris 75016
Metro: Auteuil gate
RER Train: Avenue Henri Martin, Avenue Foch