Wednesday, March 9, 2016

THE FORGOTTEN TREEHOUSES

 
When I was away on my multiple trips for business, I had plenty of time to read and web surf. Low and behold, I came across a fun item, that combined three of my favorite things.....nature, dress swanky and drinking. I know drinking is not a hobby, for yours truly, it's been known to be a sport! There was once a place that drew crowds of Parisians away from their grand boulevards and sidewalk cafés, and fashion houses.... to rediscover their inner drunk child, wine & dine in chestnut tree houses and celebrate summer like Robinson Crusoe!
Perhaps you’ve heard of a “guingette”, a sort of French equivalent to a summer hoedown, meaning not your Mistress in France, but a actual hoedown, traditionally located next to the river and particularly popular in the 19th and early 20th century, serving food and ample drinks, accompanied by lively music and dancing. Monet and Renoir immortalized such vibrant scenes in their paintings but it seems the most enchanting of these summer establishments has been long forgotten by Parisians. Les Guinguettes de Robinson was the place to see and be seen in the summer of the 1850s. Parisians descended to the small district south of the city en masse to relax high up in the branches of chestnut trees and dance in the forest. It all began in 1848 in the hamlet of St. Eloi when an innkeeper was inspired by the popular myth of Robinson Crusoe.
In this unusual forest setting, dance halls and bars entertained Parisians in exotic island huts, adults and children alike amused themselves on rides, swings and various attractions and participated in donkey races (after a little too much wine).Customers in chestnut treehouses were served lunch of roast chicken and champagne, their meals hoisted up to them in baskets via rope pulley systems. In 1855, a food critic wrote that ‘lavish tables were set and lovebirds without feathers but forks in hand exchanged happy kisses in the breeze, witnessed only by the foliage’. For Parisians who couldn’t flock to the seaside during the summer months, could now escape the city thanks to the expansion of the “suburban” railway lines around Paris in the late 1850s, Les Guingettes de Robinson provided a uniquely enchanting and exotic summer adventure. For over a century, this Robinson Crusoe Village was a Parisian paradise.
During the Second World War however, the spirit of the guingette fell out of fashion and after the war the Robinson dance halls and taverns began closing one after the other. In the 1950s, one of the popular dance hall pavilions was sold to a Renault factory, before giving way to private homes.
 
I think this sounds like the perfect venture for the Mistress and houseboys this summer. Bound to be a smash hit here in Bucks County...what with us having more liquor license per capita than anywhere else in the state. They don't call this area Big Bucks Drunk County for nothing. I can't think of a better way to enjoy my gin and tonics.

26 comments:

  1. As if I really needed another reason to adore Paris, right? Well, how about the long-forgotten fad of Paris being lined with tree-houses? If this fantastic little oddity does not convince Paris knows how to rock style than I do not know how more to convince you!

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  2. This is an amazing aspect about Paris which I never knew about. One lives and learns. Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures.

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  3. Wow, I never heard about this before. When is your grand opening?

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  4. never knew this about france OR bucks county! git yer drink on, girl!

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  5. french, english, whatever the language....if ho is involved, we know you won't be far behind.

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  6. How wonderfully intriguing! Why haven't I ever heard of this before? The concept is rather like Swiss Family Robinson meets Moulin Rouge.

    Looks kind of dangerous, however, if you've had too much gin. I've climbed a few trees when I was drunk - but I've never fallen out of one.

    Interesting post!

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  7. Oh yes, now this is something chic I can get behind. I wonder if anyone had so much they did a Tarzan swing?

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  8. Oh wow, it surely does sound & look good... Would love to visit. If you & the boys go, take pics! :D

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  9. What an enchanting take on wining and dining! This certainly needs to be resurrected. And with a wait-staff of Tarzans (as inspired by Norma Lee Drunk's comment)!

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  10. Gosh, I love a treehouse. And to have a swanky time uop there with cocktails and such, would be the best!

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  11. Reminds me of Robin Crusoe's house in Disneyland!

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  12. Oh those wacky Parisians. I hope they were careful when they got drunk though. That first step is a doozy!

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  13. Yes drinking is a sport for some of us. A sport that I took so many years playing so hard that today I'm retired from it and watch from the sidelines. I do however occasionally usher at sporting events of the sort these days where I act as a driver getting my friends who still play back and forth to various venues. These Parisian venues look as if they would be most fun to not only play the sport but also spectate.

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  14. That truly is amazing. We certainly need to live more like this. What a interesting post, o agree

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  15. It certainly looks a lot more fun than Disneyland Paris!
    JP

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  16. I just don't know, you and fin that high up has disaster written all over it. What a cool summer time concept though.

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  17. What a fun and interesting post. I like them all, but that 7th one is amazing.I think you have a gold mine on your hands, I say go for it...sure to be a hit in Bucks.

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  18. How beautiful! How much fun would this be?

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  19. Well, welcome back!!!! I see I have missed some posts. These guingette are truly amazing. We as people should go back to having fun and memorable times like this again. What a way to spend a summer evening.

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  20. What wonderful pictures and a magical place. Parisians sure did know how to have fun. I think I read an article about these once. Must have been very neat to see a whole "street" of these.

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  21. It sounds like a hella fun! Now, you know, of course, that **I** would be looking for the one that allowed everyone to be naked...at least until the mosquitos began their bacchanal. "A man will find there's an alternative to violence when a mosquito lands on his balls."
    I spy the rolled-up stockings on the ladies - when, do tell - did that become a sign of a "loose woman?"

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  22. Of course drinking is a hobby: it is something one does in one's spare time for which one is not paid. Usually.

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    1. Welcome Ultra Toast and thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you agree drinking is a hobby. If I was paid to drink, id be a millionaire by now!

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  23. Of course drinking is a hobby: it is something one does in one's spare time for which one is not paid. Usually.

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  24. How very cool!!! With you and the house boys, that would certainly be some strange fruit hanging from up above.

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  25. This is simply amazing! A much simpler time when people knew how to have a good time and live. I suppose you'd never see this today....could you imagine the insurance they'd need today? Love the pictures of them.

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Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

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