Chalets des Iles

This elegant and romantic restaurant has to be one of my favourite places in the world. I first learned of it when I was reading a Zola novel, and googled some facts about the author. Fate led me to a link to Chalet des Iles where apparently, Zola sipped coffee with Proust at the beginning of the 20th Century when “Chalet” was then a literary café to the belle époque.

The then café was built in 1852. The Bois de Boulogne had been given up to Paris, and Napolean III had the Swiss chalet transported by train from Bern in Switzerland, as a gift to the Empress Eugénie.  Lucky Lady!!

Over the years the chalet has been preserved and restored several times, and the island has become a sanctuary for peacocks, finches, ducks and moorhens as well as red squirrels and rabbits. Many species of flowers and fine trees grow here – pines, Cypress, Birch, Lime and Oak trees. To stroll around the island after lunch is heaven, before alighting the small ferry to take you back to mainland Paris.

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