Reminiscing in the Parlor : Leisurely Viewing Stereographs
Bois de Boulogne, Paris, France
August 1875
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6.875 x 3.375
One stereograph of the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, France. The photograph shows a rock arch over a small creek, with a road along side it.. The front has the location name hand written on it and the back has the owner's initials and a short description of the site. M. F. H. took a European tour in July and August of 1875, traveling from Belgium to Switzerland, Italy, France, England and Scotland. From other stereographs, it is clear this is from that trip.
These "Boulogne Woods" are a remnant of the ancient oak forest of Rouvray[1], which was first mentioned in 717, in the charter of Compiègne. The lands were given by Childeric II to the powerful Abbey of Saint-Denis, which founded a number of monasteries. Philip Augustus bought back the main part of the forest from the monks of St Denis to create a royal hunting reserve on Crown lands. In 1256, Isabelle de France, sister of Saint-Louis, founded Longchamp Abbey.

During the Hundred Years War, the forest became the haunt of robbers; in 1416-17 troops of the Duke of Burgundy burned part of Rouvroy Forest; Under Louis XI, the estate, now called the Bois de Boulogne, was reforested and two roads were opened through it.

After François I built the Château de Madrid (completed 1526) in the Bois de Boulogne, the woodlands became a site of festivities. The hunting park was enclosed by walls under Henri II and Henri III, with eight gates. Henri IV planted 15000 mulberry trees, with the hope of instigating a local silk industry. His repudiated wife Marguerite de Valois retired to her refuge in the Château de la Muette, in the Bois.

In November 1783, from the grounds of the Château de la Muette, Pilâtre de Rozier and the marquis d'Arlandes made the first successful flight in a hot-air balloon built by the Montgolfier brothers.

The site was made into a park by Napoleon III in 1852; in the following years it was informally landscaped with open lawns and woodlands of hornbeam, beech, linden, cedar, chestnut and elm trees and hardy exotic species, like redwoods. All the formal allées, with the exceptions of the Allée Reine Marguerite and the Avenue Longchampwere made serpentine: there are thirty-five kilometres of footpaths, eight kilometres of cycle paths and twenty-nine kilometres of riding tracks. The upper and lower lakes, connected by a waterfall, were created; the excavated earth was used to create the Butte Mortemart. Between 1855 and 1858, the Hippodrome de Longchamp was built on the plain of the same name.
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