Bois de Boulogne

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Lac Inférieur ("Lower Lake") in the Bois de Boulogne

The Bois de Boulogne ( bwa.d (ə) .bu.lɔɲ ; German  "Forest of Boulogne" ) is a forest and park in the Arrondissement XVI ( Passy ) in the west of Paris and to the suburbs Neuilly-sur-Seine and Boulogne- Bordering Billancourt .


In the size comparison of city ​​parks around the world, it ranks after London's Richmond Park , Amsterdamse Bos and Birmingham's Sutton Park , but it is two and a half times larger than New York's Central Park and 3.3 times larger than Hyde Park in London . In its eastern part it is affected by the boulevard périphérique , a motorway ring , which, however, was partially lowered after public protests. At its western edge, on the banks of the Seine , is Paris' only campsite close to the city .


Mill (1312) of the former Longchamp monastery, now a pumping station. Next to it the Longchamp racecourse

The hunting ground of the Forêt de Rouvray , created around 1154, was originally located on the site of the Bois de Boulogne . The Frankish king Dagobert I came here to hunt in the 7th century . Longchamp Abbey was built in 1256 at the height of today's Longchamp Racecourse . The mill from 1312 is still preserved today. Around 1308, after his pilgrimage to Boulogne-sur-Mer , Philip the Fair had a chapel built in honor of the apparition of Mary, which was venerated there, and was named "Notre Dame de Boulogne". After this chapel, which was completed under his son Philip V , the place named Boulogne-sur-Seine (today's Boulogne-Billancourt ) and the Bois de Boulogne.

First manned free flight on November 21, 1783

Only Louis XVI. opened his hunting ground to the public around 1783. On November 21, 1783, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes started their first manned balloon flight from the Château de la Muette on the edge of the park. After the defeat of Napoleon I in April 1814, around 40,000 soldiers from the Russian and English armies camped in the park. Since the February Revolution of 1848 , the forest area belonged to the state domains until it passed to the city of Paris by decree of July 13, 1852.

The Cologne architect Jakob Ignaz Hittorff , who works in Paris, and the landscape architect Lous-Sulpice Varé submitted plans for the systematic construction of a city park, which Napoleon III in February 1853 . approved. The surrounding wall was removed, paths and artificial water surfaces were created. Louis Bonaparte , influenced by the example of Hyde Park since his exile in London , tried to do something similar for Paris with the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes . The emperor therefore wanted a river-like body of water to be built in the park. Varé did not really consider the flow speed of the 1.5 km long moat he planned , so that the stream dried up along the way. Prefect Georges-Eugène Haussmann therefore dismissed both architects in November 1854 and appointed Jean-Charles Alphand and the landscape gardener Jean-Pierre Barillet-Deschamps . Alphand - recently Paris park director - took over the construction and monitored 1200 workers, not imagining an exact copy of nature, but a work of art. The two solved the water problem by creating artificial waterfalls ( cascades ). The numerous chalets, pavilions, restaurants, but also the Jardin d'Acclimatation were realized by the architect Gabriel Davioud . Under his direction, around 400,000 trees were planted and around 95 km of bridle paths were set up. Today there are 28 km of bridle paths, 15 km of bike paths and many hiking trails. The construction of the park cost 14.3 million francs until it opened on July 5, 1854.

During absolutism the French nobles ( French gentilshommes ) dueled there early in the morning with swords or pistols. In 1929 the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes, which were roughly the same size, were officially incorporated into the city of Paris. Today, these two parks together represent around 80 percent of the municipality's green space.

During the Summer Olympics in 1900 , the park served as a venue for the croquet games .

Components of the park

The Bois de Boulogne is home to some cultural offerings.

Bodies of water

Lac supérieur ("Upper Lake")
  • Lac Inférieur (from 1853) is the largest lake in the park, it is 1152 meters long and 100 meters wide. Boat trips are possible on the 412 meter long upper lake ( Lac supérieur in French ).
  • Grande Cascade (1856) is a 14-meter-high man-made waterfall made of Fontainebleau rocks .
  • Etang de reservoir is the reservoir for the Grande Cascade.
  • Rouisseau de Longchamp (1855) is the largest man-made river in the park.
  • Mare de Saint-James is a lake with two islands for birds and small animals.


Sports facilities

  • Hippodrome de Longchamp (1857) is the most important horse racing track in Paris, started in 1856 and inaugurated in March 1857.
  • Auteuil Hippodrome (1873) is built for obstacle races.
  • Stade Roland Garros (1927) is the largest French tennis court.

There are also football fields, areas for boules and picnic areas.


A narrow-gauge railway leads from Porte Maillot to the Jardin d'Acclimatation , Le Petit Train du Jardin d'Acclimatation .


The Bois de Boulogne is located in the north-west of Paris between Neuilly-sur-Seine and Boulogne-Billancourt and is bounded in the north by the Seine .

The Bois de Boulogne had a bad reputation from the start: travelers, offenders, those persecuted by the judiciary and other subversive people have always hid in the woods. Later, part of the Parisian prostitution moved to the Bois de Boulogne, where parts of the street prostitution (especially drug prostitution , gay prostitution , and child prostitution ) are still to this day .


  • Jean-Michel Derex: Histoire du Bois de Boulogne. Le bois du roi et la promenade mondaine de Paris . L'Harmattan, Paris 1997. ISBN 2-7384-5590-5
  • Franz Baltzarek, Robert Schediwy: Green in the big city. History and future of European parks . Vienna 1982. ISBN 3-85063-125-7

Web links

Commons : Bois de Boulogne  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 48 ° 52 ′ 0 ″  N , 2 ° 15 ′ 1 ″  E

Individual evidence

  1. The statistics portal, Largest city parks in the world in 2014
  2. Architectural Record , Volume 23, 1908, p. 24
  3. Allgemeine Zeitung, Munich, February 8, 1853, p. 616
  4. Andrew Ayers, The Architecture of Paris , 2004, p. 319
  5. Wojciech Bałus, Stadtparks in der Österreichischen Monarchy 1765-1918 , 2007, p. 54
  6. Éditions Chronique (ed.), Chronique du 5 juillet , 2013, o. P.