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Japanese Garden


jap-1.jpgIn the west part of Paris, in Boulogne-Billancourt there is a piece of Japan. A piece of Japan as it was dreamed and realized by a banker Albert Kahn with his idea to confront at one place various sceneries of our planet. At the end of the 19th century Albert Kahn had quite a big fortune and his decision to settle down falls on the town Billancourt-sur-Seine. The banker settled in 1893 on the banks of the Seine river, on the quay of 4th September. In the middle of the 19th century this place was transformed to a „promenade“, so that Napoljap-2.jpgeon III. could go from Saint-Cloud to the Boulogne forest or to the hippodrome Longchamp.

Walking by the fence and the edge of the garden the visitors have no idea what kind of a world they will enter. They will find themselves in a fairy-tale mosaic of Japanese, English gardens, the Blue Forest, or the forest reminding the French mountains region Vosges. Albert Kahn creatively combined Japan, England and France, and together with France a piece of mountains that reminded him his childhood. Two Japanese houses brought in pieces from Albert Kahn’s trip to Japan are his Japanese souvenir.

In the gardens there are often held various performances, visits with story-telling or programs for children. During our visit children are accompanied by a temperament story-jap-3.jpgteller. A young lady with a big belly, which I guess for two remaining months, gives an admirable energy to the stories about a choleric samurai, a king coming back to his gardens and finding all his flowers and trees dried or about a boy looking for a lost blue bird. With her swift steps, at some moments even running she walks through the gardens, children are running behind her scared by her words that they have to go on fast since an ogre is behind them. And for the children the story becomes a reality, they run as fast as they can, at some moments looking behind them if the ogre is not too close. The story-teller is accompanied by a musical gardener, a man playing a blowpipe.

The garden is an oasis of peace all year round. However, it is in spring that you will be most delighted by the flowers and blossoms. It is a pleasant place for a family trip, a romantic walk, a peaceful moment with a book, for discovering various plants and trees, for a Japanese experience on the edge of Paris. A part of the garden is also a museum with a permanent exhibition showing to the visitors the personality of Albert Kahn, his life journey, meetings and ideas.

Entrance: 2,50 euro, free for students. Metro: Pont de Saint Cloud 

Maria Danthine, Paristep