The Fondation Louis Vuitton is located next to the Jardin d'Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, the famous park on the west side of Paris.
With an area of 846 hectares, the Bois de Boulogne has 28 km of bridle-paths and 15 km of cycle-paths, as well as containing well-known waterfalls and numerous lakes, streams and ponds that have been the delight of many Parisians since the mid 19th century.
Under the encouragement of Baron Haussmann, the Prefect of Paris, and of the Emperor Napoleon III, the engineer Alphand and the landscape gardener Barillet-Deschamps designed this great oasis of greenery from 1853 onwards, taking their inspiration from Hyde Park in London.
The jardin d'acclimatation
THE FONDATION IN ITS ENVIRONMENT
History of the place
In October 1860, after two years of construction work, Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie opened the Jardin d'Acclimatation, thus providing Paris with a landscaped park designed in accordance with the model of English gardens that they so admired, in the Bois de Boulogne and just next to the Longchamp race-course.
The Jardin d'Acclimatation soon became a fashionable venue prized by walkers, teachers and scientists. Offering an enormous variety of exotic plants and rare animals, the Jardin has housed from its very beginnings a zoological society which, under the guidance of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, soon developed a triple educational, scientific and recreational mission. Thus the Palmarium was inaugurated in 1893 by Sadi Carnot, while the Aquarium, which had first opened in 1861, had in the space of thirty years become one of the most famous examples of its kind in the world.
Even today, in addition to the heritage of its exceptional landscape, the Jardin d'Acclimatation contains architectural features that bear witness to its history. The great aviary, the dovecot, the stables, the bandstand and the rocky outcrop frequented by deer all give it its particular Parisian charm. Since it first opened in 1860, it has been the scene of the childhood games of the young Marcel Proust and of countless subsequent generations of children.
The landscape project
The construction of the Fondation Louis Vuitton is accompanied by a landscape project that will allow for the transformation and modernisation of the Jardin d'Acclimatation while at the same time conserving its original atmosphere. Walks have been re-designed, architectural features have been renovated and a range of plant varieties have been re-established so as to renew the park's plant and historical heritage.
During the course of their wanderings walkers can thus discover numerous unexpected vistas, not least of which are the sails of the Fondation building emerging from above the tops of the venerable beeches and oak-trees.