Japanese culture, Paris, travels, nature

my Little Japan in Paris : Albert Kahn garden

A whole week ago, hubby & I have been to Paris, and this is the second post about our Japanese stops. Today it's all about two Japanese gardens located in a bigger park/garden + museum, in Boulogne Billancourt. Now to begin with, a little history.

Albert Kahn (1860-1940) was a French banker and philanthropist, known for initiating "The Archives of The Planet", a vast photographical project. Spanning 22 years, it resulted in a collection of 72000 color photographs and 183000 meters of film. In 1893 he acquiered a large property in Boulogne Billancourt, a town of western suburbs of Paris, where he established "the Garden of the Worlds", a unique garden containing a variety of garden styles including English, Japanese, a rose garden, and a conifer woord. This became a meeting place for French and European intelligentsia until the 1930s, when due to the crash of 1929, Kahn became bankrupt.At that time, the garden was turned into a public park in which Kahn would still take walks. The garden brings together distinct traditions (French, English & Japanese), as if to illustrate the utopia of a world reconcilied, where different realities can coexist in perfect harmony. The economic crisis of the great depression ruined Kahn and put an end to his project. He died during the Nazi occupation of France.

So ... we visited on a grey, misty, winter morning, and I'd say that the Japanese gardens (what we came for) were in the winter, wabi sabi phase. Almost no leaf, few flowers, but so much to explore & see. The bareness of the vegetation makes it easier to notice details. Let's see for yourself. (click photos to make them bigger !)

I would also like to visit it again in the late spring or early summer or early autumn, it must have another kind of beauty. If you're curious to see what it looks like in another season, you can visit this blog post.

The museum was also interesting. It is all about autochrome photographic process, and held real treasures. Here are two, Japan related, of course :

To the left : sliding doors of one of the houses of the Japanese houses in the Kahn garden, 1925.
To the right : one of Kahn's guests : Marquess Tokugawa, in the salon of a villa at Cape Martin, 1930.

I hope you've enjoyed your tour to this special place. It was our first time there, and not the last I can promise. It is right there when you pop out from the Métro station, so it is very easy to get there.

Have a glorious week ahead !

ox

Sonia


ALBERT KAHN, MUSEUM & GARDENS
10-14 rue du Port, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt
Opening hours :
11am-6pm from Tuesday to Sunday (Oct 1st - April 30th)
11am-7pm from Tuesday to Sunday (May 1st - Sept 30th)
Métro station "Pont de Boulogne" (terminus of line 10)

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