Le Plessis Robinson

In the years of Impressionists, the life ‘en plain air’ was almost a must for Parisians even when it came to having fun. Thanks to the less defined boundaries between city and countryside, for over a century the inhabitants of the ville lumiere went as far as the nearby village of Le Plessis-Piquet (now Le Plessis- Robinson) to experience enchanting evenings in the treehouses. 

Everything began with the success of an outdoor dance hall. The ‘guinguette‘ had a fortune that convinced restaurant owner Joseph Gueusquin to build Le Grand Robinson in 1848. The cabaret was a treehouse.
It was located among the branches of a large chestnut tree and it was so called because Gueusquin had tried to reproduce the treehouse described in the adventures of Robinson Crusoe.

People fell in love with it and treehouse restaurants began to spring up like mushrooms all over the town. In the following decades the competition was fierce: some hosted donkey races while others built high swings. Gueusquin, for his part, eventually decided to change the name of his ‘Le Grand Robinson’ to ‘Le Vrai Arbre de Robinson’ in order to claim his supremacy.

In 1909, after sixty years of successful tree houses, the commune officially became Le Plessis- Robinson. Today, no such establishment is still in operation (the last one closed in ’76), yet in silent remembrance of that era, some tables are still attached to the town’s trees.

Source and pics Artbooms


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