Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cascade de Gairaut

This weird Austrian style building and artificial waterfall is sited on the Gairaut hill in Nice.
It was built to mark the inauguration of a canal which brings water from the Vésubie river into Nice.

Work on the canal started in 1878 and finished in 1883 with the building of the waterfall and chalet style 'Maison de Garde' at Gairaut.

The water flows underneath the building and the tunnel is decorated with concrete shaped like stalactites and stalagmites . This was a popular fashion at the end of the 19th century and there are the remains of a number of similar artifical 'grottoes' around the area , though most are in poor repair.

Its very strange to walk through the tunnel and look out through the 'cave' mouths
This is a close-up of the faux-Austrian woodwork - its kind of a cross between Austrian chal;e decoration and Victorian 'gingerbread' woodwork
This is a view from the front , showing some of the artificial waterfalls. Its quite a popular place to have wedding photos taken - we saw two bridal parties while we were visiting.

The view from the site is lovely . Nice is just a sea of terracotta roofs in the valley with the Mediterranean sparking in the distance.

A view over to mont Boron and Mont Alban on the left

The Cascade de Gairaut was a popular tourist attraction in Victorian times partly because of the lovely view and excentric building and partly because it was seen as an amazing engneering feat to be celebrated and admired.
The increased water supply from the canal allowed a huge expansion in flower growing in the Nice area in the late 19th C and obviously had a major impact on the fortunes of the city of Nice .


Magpie Magic said...

What a lovely and unusual building and interesting history. The photos are great, too. LOL

It's amazing the lenghts the Victorians went to creating some feat of engineering and making it looks so pretty. I wish we did more of this nowadays. Just because it's well engineered doesn't mean that it has to be ugly. The Victorians had the right idea.

About me said...

I will put this place on my bucket list it looks magical thank you for sharing this with us

Alison Ashwell said...

Magpie Magic - i agree with you - the victorian's seemed to go for function plus beauty

About me - there are loads fabulous places in Nice or within easy reach to add to a bucket list =]

curtisdean1 said...

Thanks for your explanation about the Cascade de Gairaut. I've been there, and also took a good photo, but did not know the details of why and what.