October 1 - April 30, 11am - 5:30pm. May 1 - September 30, 11am - 6:30pm. Closed Mondays.
Added to JGarden:
This museum was established and endowed by Albert Kahn (1860-1940) in the early 20th century. The gardens were constructed beginning in 1895, but modifications continue to this day. A garden pavilion was opened in 1965 and the gallery building that houses the photographic archive of Kahn's various photographic expeditions was opened in 1992. The area nearest the museum is the Japanese garden with the 'Blue Forest', Vosge Forest and the Orchard in the area furthest away, behind the greenhouse/restaurant/pavilion. The Blue Forest has been closed since 1998 due to damage incurred in the hurricane that year. It is expected to re-open in 2002.
The Japanese garden is a bit inconsistent. It is unclear to me how much of it was designed by Kahn himself, and what was done later. Albert Kahn had visited Japan twice and had clearly visited many gardens and temples while there. The section closest to the museum building is quite well conceived, constructed and somewhat well maintained. But the area moving away from the building along the artificial stream and toward the pond does not work well at all. It begins with an incongruous stone and cement cone that is likely modeled after the conical sand forms at Ginkakuji, but it doesn't work very well at all here. The cement edging along the serpentine stream that leads from the cone is quite obtrusive and the design unresolved. There are, nonetheless, many fine tree specimens including ginkgo biloba, linden, and poplar. In addition, some pier-like structures that jut into the stream are very beautiful. These are the vestiges of an old milk factory transported here from Normandy by Kahn.
Kahn began building the Orchard, Palmarium and gardens on three parcels of land of four hectares that he acquired in 1895. He hired the landscape architect Achille Duchene to do the design. His intent was a world study center where students could gather to study the cultures of the world and further his dream of an international civilization and a search for peace between all peoples. To this end he established fellowships for graduate students, began a Planetary Archive (Archives de la Planéte) of images and movies collected from all over the world. Kahn, the wealthy banker, lost most of his fortune in the stock market crash of 1929, but most of the various institutions he established survive to this day, though their goal is now primarily one of conservation.
Nearest metro stop is Boulogne Pont de St. Cloud (last stop on Line 10). There is also an associated library and 'Maison de la Nature' at 9, quai du 4 Septembre 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt (0)1.43.03.33.56
With the south wind a gentle goddess came.
She soaked the bronze, she soaked the fountain,
She soaked the swallow's belly and its feathers of gold.
She hugged the tide, lapped the sand, drank the fish.
Secretly she soaked the temple, the bath-house, the theatre,
The confusion of her platinum lyre --
the tongue of the goddess -- secretly.
Soaked my tongue.
Nishiwaki Junzaburô trans. by Bownas and Thwaite 20th century