Ever since the 18th century, the gardens of the Orangerie Park have been Strasbourg's favourite walking spot, with their zoo and bowling centre.
The Pavillon Joséphine, built in honour of the Empress
It was between 1804 in 1807, that architect Valentin Boudhors oversaw the building of the Pavillon Josephine, in the middle of the park laid out in 1692 in classical French style.
The building was meant to house the remaining 140 orange trees brought over by Count Jean-Régnier III of Hanau-Lichtenberg to decorate the famous gardens to his chateau in Bouxwiller, but which had been confiscated by the Revolution in 1793. The new building was named after the Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, in memory of her trips to Strasbourg. The building suffered extensive damage in a fire in 1968, but was rebuilt to the same design soon after. The two sphinxes standing at the entrance come from the gardens of château Klinglin of Illkirch, which was refitted in the 18th century.
An English style park, a zoo and a bowling alley in the centre of the European district
Under the impetus of two mayors, Jean Frédéric de Turckheim and Georges Frédéric Schutzenberger, the Park gradually took on the winding alleys and carefully "disorganised" plantations, designed to imitate nature, that were typical of the prevailingly fashionable English-garden style.
The Park doubled its surface area when the Exhibition of Industry and the Crafts was held there in 1895, and also saw the installation of picturesque half-timbered houses, such as the Buerehiesel, several follies, including the "Temple of Love", as well as ponds, bridges and fountains. Two statues are worth looking out for, the traditional Gaenseliesel and the Puits voleur (the thieving well), the work of Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand, which was installed in 1994.
The zoo is to be found in the western part of the park, next to the bowling alley, which itself was built on the foundations of an old restaurant.