Since we had just eaten at the Grande Cascade restaurant, we decided to walk around and visit its namesake, the actual Grande Cascade created by Baron Haussmann in 1852. Napoleon III was personally involved in planning the new parks. “We must have a stream here, as in Hyde Park,” he observed while driving through the Bois, “to give life to this arid promenade”. The first plan for the Bois de Boulogne was drawn up by the architect Jacques Hittorff, and the landscape architect Louis-Sulpice Varé. Their plan called for long straight alleys in patterns crisscrossing the park, and, as the Emperor had asked, lakes and a long stream similar to the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Unfortunately, Varé failed to take into account the difference in elevation between the beginning of the stream and the end. If his plan had been followed, the upper part of the stream would have been empty, and the lower portion flooded. When Haussmann saw the partially finished stream, he saw the problem immediately, dismissed Varé and Hittorff and designed the solution himself. An upper lake and a lower lake, divided by an elevated road, which serves as a dam; and a cascade which allows the water to flow between the lakes. This is the design still seen today.
According to legend in 1880 Napoleon III gave his wife the Empress Eugenie, this authentic Swiss chalet, which he had fully dismantled and reinstalled in the same way on an island in the Bois de Boulogne. At one time it was the location of a literary cafe frequented by Proust and Zola. The chalet has been burned and restored many times; the latest restoration took place in 2001 when the chalet was refurbished in French colonial style. It is located in the Bois de Bologne, on the largest lake in the park, Lac Inferieur. You get to the restaurant on a cute little boat that crosses the water.
Much of Parc Monceau is ringed with 18th- and 19th-century mansions, some evoking Proust's Remembrance of Things Past especially since he frequently wandered here. Louis Carrogis Carmontelle designed it in 1778 as a private hideaway for the duc d'Orléans (who came to be known as Philippe-Egalité), at the time the richest man in France. The Duke was a close friend of the Prince of Wales, later George IV, and a lover of all things English. His intention was to create what was then called an Anglo-Chinese or English garden, on the earlier model of Stowe House in England (1730–1738), with its examples of the architectural folly, or fantastic reconstructions of buildings of different ages and continents. It was similar in style to several other examples of the French landscape gardens built at about the same time, including the Desert de Retz, the gardens of the Château de Bagatelle and the Folie Saint James.