The largest suburb of Paris and one of the most developed communes in the Boulogne-Billancourt region is located 8 km west of the center of the capital in the department of Haut-de-Seine.
Past and present
At the very beginning of the 12th century, on the banks of one of the bends of the Seine, the small village of Menul-les-Saint-Clos was founded, the population of which was engaged in timber harvesting. In 1319, at the direction of King Philip V, the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Boulogne was built in it, modeled on the temple in Boulogne-sur-Mer. Over time, it became such an important center of pilgrimage that the name of the village changed to Boulogne-sur-Petit, and the nearby forest of Rouvre became known as Boulogne.
During the Hundred Years War, the village was almost completely destroyed and began to develop again only after the royal castle was built for Francis I not far from it. At the end of the 18th century new lands were added to it from the commune of Saint-Cloud, and she herself was once again renamed Boulogne-sur-Seine.
In the middle of the 19th century the commune becomes one of the summer suburbs of Paris. As a result of the urban transformations of Baron Haussmann, a stream of Parisians rushed to this suburb of the capital in the summer, preferring to live away from the center of a big city.
In the second half of the century, traditional craft workshops are increasingly giving way to high-tech industries. In 1880-1914, the automobile plant L. Renault was built here, thanks to the brothers V. and L. Bleriot and Farman, the aviation industry was born, and in 1912 one of the first film studios was founded. In 1926, after the merger with the commune of Billancourt, the city received its modern name Boulogne-Billancourt.
In the interwar period, Boulogne-Billancourt attracted many members of the creative elite. It was chosen for permanent residence by the artists M. Chagall, M. Blondat, H. Gris and D. Bernard, architects Le Corbusier and R. Mallet-Stevens often visited it.
Since the 1970s, the city's infrastructure has undergone significant changes. Many heavy industry enterprises are curtailing production and at the same time the service sector is booming.
Architectural and historical heritage
In the commune with a long history rich in important events, many interesting architectural monuments have survived to this day.
Church of Notre Dame de Boulogne
These include the ancient church of Notre Dame de Boulogne (Église Notre-Dame de Boulogne), built in the years 1319-1320 in the Gothic style.
Chateau Bishyu Castle
The Château Buchillot now houses the P. Belmondo Museum.
More modern, but heavily damaged during the Second World War, Rothschild Castle (Le château Rothschild) 19th century. adorns a huge park in a mixed style with an area of 30 hectares.
The green streets of Boulogne-Billacourt are decorated with numerous fountains, giving the desired coolness on a hot summer day: the fountain of lions by the sculptor A. Vaudoyer in the square of the Farman brothers, the fountain of nymphs designed by L. Bloom at the city hall, the swan fountain of M. libraries Marmottan and some others.
The 1930s Museum (Musée des Années Trente) opened in the city in 1939. The basis of its collection is a collection of works of fine and decorative-applied art, as well as samples of industrial design created in the 1930s. During this period, Boulogne-Billancourt was a very attractive city due to the possibility of inexpensively purchasing housing or renting premises for a workshop, so many gifted but not wealthy artists, sculptors and architects sought to move here.
The beginning of the collection of the museum collection was laid by the historian and collector A. Besancon. On the exhibition area of 3000 m2 800 paintings, 1500 sculptures, 20 thousand drawings are presented. A new direction in the work of the museum since 1990 has been the acquisition of a collection of works of oriental art.
A small Renault museum is housed in four halls of a 19th-century mansion.
Its exposition contains materials about the biography of L. Renault, the company's investments in motorsport and social programs, exhibits illustrating the process of designing a car and its production.
The P. Belmondo Art Museum is the youngest in Boulogne-Billancourt. It opened in 2010 on the initiative of the children of the sculptor - the famous actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, his sister Muriel and brother Alain. The exposition is deployed on an area of 1 m2 in an 18th century mansion Buchillot, owned by E. de Rothschild.
The basis of the museum collection was a collection donated by relatives, including 259 sculptures, 444 medals and 900 drawings.
The museum of the banker, industrialist and philanthropist A. Kahn has collected more than 1500 photographs from different parts of the world, which depict scenes of everyday and festive life of peoples of distant countries. The collection began in 1908 during a trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He believed that photography could be a tool that would bring peoples closer together and help to better understand different cultures.
In the lecture hall of the museum, you can also watch any of 123 films shot by A. Kahn and his associates, or become a spectator of one of 80 slide shows. Since 2014, the entrance to the museum has been limited for the duration of the reconstruction according to the project of K. Kuma, therefore, the exhibition and the garden can be viewed only by prior arrangement.
Albert Kahn Museum gardens
The beauty of the surrounding nature of Boulogne-sur-Seine was the main reason for A. Kahn's decision to move here in 1893. The picturesque hills of Saint-Cloud and the rivers flowing into the Seine, combined with a long-term passion for landscape art, inspired him to create a unique landscape gardening complex in 1895-1910.
The territory of the landscape park with an area of 4 hectares is divided into 7 sections: meadow and Golden forest, swamp and Blue forest, Japanese and French gardens and Vosges landscape park. Each of them is a kind of "stage" on which various directions of landscape design are presented.
How to get from Paris
From the Strasbourg-Saint-Denis metro station, take the metro line 9 to the Marcel Sembat stop. Travel time will be about 30 minutes.