a landscape lover's blog

garden tales from a Brit at home and abroad

Simple winter pleasures at musée Albert Kahn

A recent post praised the January drabness of two Paris gardens. It seemed to strike something of a chord, so today I offer another place where winter is at her unassuming best.

The musée Albert Kahn is a trove of early films and photographs from around the world. Named after the wealthy French banker who commissioned the images, the museum sits on the edge of four hectares of gardens in Boulogne-Billancourt, just to the southwest of Paris. It is easily reachable from the city centre by metro or bus.

Of the museum’s distinct garden areas, the most visited is the contemporary Japanese garden. In late Spring (when I shall write more), it is dazzlingly luscious, bursting with greenery and vibrant flower colour. Later, in summer, the adjacent classical French garden is lovely, with its trained roses and fruit trees.

spruce and beechBut, in winter, it is the woodland that beckons. Inspired by forests in the Vosges, where Kahn grew up, this tiny (third of a hectare) space is a mixture of spruce, hornbeam, oak, beech and hazel. It is all mossy softness and quiet in the low January sun. While the museum’s website may trumpet the area as a mass of daffodils and foxgloves in the Spring, now everywhere is drab green and brown. The little forest is resting and waiting.


As a careful abstraction of nature, it is less dishevelled than the other two gardens I praised. There is little evidence here of decay or abandon. But in its dappled stillness, this small woodland is still a fine place to visit in mid-winter.

wooded slope


9 comments on “Simple winter pleasures at musée Albert Kahn

  1. Meredehuit♥
    January 14, 2011

    The woods are always a fine place to visit… no matter the season. Your pics give longing to to come for a walk.

  2. I don’t think I would choose the word drab to describe your photos. The top one is an enchanthing combination of blues, silver, greens, bronze, white, grey—-as beautiful to me at least as any flowery summer shot.

    • landscapelover
      January 14, 2011

      Thanks for the comment. You are right of course – I was trying to express the way the little woodland is not bright or gaudy. It has a quiet, soft charm which at this time of year feels to me just right.

  3. I don’t think I would choose the word drab to describe your photos. The top one is an enchanting combination of blues, silver, greens, bronze, white, grey—-as beautiful to me at least as any flowery summer shot.

  4. Cat/The Whimsical Gardener
    January 14, 2011

    Yes, I agree Meredehuit, the last photograph especially calls to me…I’d like to wander and discover in that peaceful woodland!

    Thanks landscapelover for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment. I look forward to visiting your blog often in the future. Blotanical has been such a great way to meet people – so thankful for it!

  5. Elephant's Eye
    January 14, 2011

    What is the story behind the Startled Green Man as your avatar? Is he just a wall fountain festooned in moss?

    • landscapelover
      January 15, 2011

      Thanks for stopping by, and the question. I can see why you think my avatar is a Green Man, but it’s not – and actually nor is that moss. I will write a quick post on what it is, and where I found it.

  6. Lula
    January 18, 2011

    Museums and gardens are a perfect combination for reflection, even in the hardest months of the year, a time for silence and solitude, yet everything is just dormant, waiting to bloom in spring, it makes me really think about a visit. Thank you for sharing! Lula

  7. Gardening Services
    July 14, 2012

    Well personally I think you have some stunning photos here. You can never take a bad photo of bush and gardens.

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This entry was posted on January 14, 2011 by in France outside Paris, Gardens, Ile de France and tagged , , .

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