Switzerland or Paris? Le Chalet des Iles in the Bois de Boulogne

A lake + a chalet + a log burning fire = Switzerland. Right? 

That's what Stephane and I first thought as we walked along the narrow dirt path skirting the lake and saw Le Chalet des Iles, an authentic chalet given by Napoleon III to his wife, the Empress Eugénie. The Swiss chalet, which was disassembled, transported to Paris and rebuilt on an island during the redevelopment of the Bois de Boulogne in the 1880s, is reachable by a small boat that traverses the lake. Had the weather been more conducive to being outdoors, we would have rented a wooden rowboat and traveled in style - with Stephane at the oars, of course!

As it was, it felt good to take refuge inside next to the wood burning fire. Sitting in the cozy room gazing out at the lake, I thought that it's little wonder that Le Chalet des Iles was fashionable during the Second Empire when it was a literary salon frequented by French authors Marcel Proust and Émile Zola.

Surrounded by large French families gathered together on Easter Monday, Stéphane and I agreed that it's the perfect spot for special celebrations. While the food wasn't the best that we've had in Paris, the idyllic surroundings more than made up for any shortcomings. We're already planning to take some visitors there in June.

Our lunch ended on a very sweet note with a café gourmand, a gourmet coffee served with a macaron, lemon tartlet, mascarpone flavored with coconut and a raspberry coulis and some other delectable goodies.

Le Chalet des Iles
Lac Inférior du Bois de Boulogne
Porte de la Muette
75016 Paris
Tel: 01 42 88 04 69

Dads' day on the lake - some fathers rowed and others took it easy.


  1. I had a lovely lunch at Le Chalet d'Iles in the unexpected heatwave at the end of September last year. I spent the day cycling the Bois de Bolougne whilst my husband wet to the races at Longchamp.

    It was beautiful to sit in the sunshine overlooking the lake, watching French families with picnics come over on the boat and a wedding party.

    Ahh! such nice memories. Pity you were not that impressed with the food, on the occasion I dined there the food was delicious.

    Thanks for the memory.

    Love from Bolton

    1. Thanks for sharing your impressions of Le Chalet d'Iles, Denise. As Mondays are when many chefs have their day off from work, I thought that we probably just picked the wrong day of the week to eat there. In any case, we're definitely going to go back to Le Chalet because the setting is so enjoyable. I can easily understand why someone would want to have their wedding reception there!

      We also want to try their sister restaurant, La Guinguette de Neuilly, with terraces right next to the Seine.

  2. Idyllic. I love rowing on placid lakes like this--I would certainly hop you across the water to your destination. It reminds me of the Boathouse in Central Park and rowing there--one of my all-time favorite activities in the City. And that dessert would be a just reward for all my hard work.

    But MK, there seems to be a pontoon boat moored right there--couldn't you hop that over?

    1. Sounds like a deal, Joseph. You supply the power to get to the island and I'll supply the cafe gourmand! As you like rowing, you would love this lake. Did you ever visit the Bois de Boulogne when you were in Paris? Until yesterday, I hadn't been there in more than 20 years and don't understand why it took me so long to return. I kept putting it off because it's close to our apartment so I thought that I could go anytime. Big mistake - I should have been going there on a frequent basis ever since we moved here!

      The pontoon boat is how Stephane and I got to the island yesterday. It's a quick trip that's free for anyone visiting the restaurant. Otherwise, it's 1.50 Euros. I do, however, prefer the idea of being rowed over! ;)

  3. Oh, this sounds like a great place to take Sebastian for lunch one day next month. He would probably love taking the boat over and grandma and poppa would love having lunch at such a beautiful place.

    Thanks for sharing,


    1. Perhaps Sebastian could even row grandma and poppa to the island! It would definitely help him work up an appetiti. Le Chalet is a great spot for kids, couples, parents, grandparents.

  4. A pontoon is a boat that may hold 6 to 12 people and is propelled by gasoline. Pontoon boats are well-known for their exceptional safety and stability. Pontoon boats, on the other hand, do not perform well in huge quantities of water and are best used for vacationing on a lake or in calm waters. Typically, they are hired out for fishing, water skiing or boarding, swimming, or a relaxing, quiet float along a river or lake. Pontoon boats are most often used for family holidays or vacations with friends. Visit Sunnyside Marina on Lake Tahoe to rent the finest Tahoe pontoon boat rentals.


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