Saint James Folie


Claude Baudard de Vaudesir, Baron de Sainte-James and wealthy financier, bought this estate in 1772.  At this point, this land was just countryside.  In 1777, the Count of Artois had a folly (a pleasure pavilion – a small house) built for himself in what is now Park Bagatelle right down the street (see last week’s post on the folly at Park Bagatelle).  So Baron Sainte-James wanted to have a folly to compete with the Count of Artois’ folly.  Unfortunately, after it was finished, the Baron went bankrupt and the house and grounds changed hands and the property was subdivided several times in the years after.  Originally the house and all of its adjacent buildings and grounds covered 30 acres. But after the property was subdivided several times, the house, remaining few outbuildings and grounds were only 4½ acres.  In 1952 the house was sold to the State and eventually passed to the city.  Later the house served as the administrative building for a high school that was built on part of the property. In 2006, the gardens were opened to the public.  The entire estate is still in disrepair and the house and the grounds are in a long process of renovation.  But in spite of all that, it’s still a lovely little park in the center of the city.

On the side of the park next to the street is a heavily-used children’s neighborhood playground.
The Art Deco walled garden with the Temple of Love dating from 1925 at the far end.
A closer look at the Temple of Love.
Beautiful rhododendrons
An interesting entrance gate.
Looking through one of the archways in the Grand Rocher.
Fragrant lilac bushes.
This lovely bridge over a pathway originally had a river flowing beneath it and the current renovation has plans to restore that feature. Originally the gardens included waterfalls, rivers, canals, and a pond, all a part of the upcoming restoration.
Apparently the pile of rocks on the right originally had waterfalls in it. Right now it’s just an unsightly, unsafe pile of rocks.
I love this house next to the St. James Foley, especially that little forest on the roof-top patio.

One thought on “Saint James Folie

  1. The Grand Rocher in a state of disrepair is almost scary looking. The painting looked much better. The flowers and gardens are beautiful though. I hope they continue to restore it.

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