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 .