From the Bougival side, you could reach it by ferry,(see the painting by W. Turner in 1831 now in the British Museum); and from Chatou you could access it via the Ile du Chiard and the dyke which Louis XIV had built in order to divert the flow of the river around one side of the island. This was to maximise the efficiency of the Marly Machine, the name given to thje nearby pumps which fed Versailles' fountains.
In 1852, François Seurin, a mix of showman and entertainments entrepreneur, obtained a permit as a ferryman to the Grenouillère. Climbing off trains at the Chatou-Croissy railway station, day trippers could take a hackney cab to the jetty at the foot of rue de l'Abreuvoir at Croissy. On the island, Monsieur Seurin had set up a drinking establishment in a tented dancehall.
At that time, the place was nicknamed "Madagascar des bords de Seine" (Madagascar-upon-Seine) as the vegetation there was so abundant and the moral of its inhabitants were likened to those of "natives of these same island". We'll leave the goings-on to your own imagination!
In 1858 - the Bougival and Croissy bridges were inaugurated and Parisians now flocked to the Grenouillère. A floating pontoon was moored alogside the bank which now housed a café-dancehall as well as bathing cabins.
In the summer of 1969, Monet and Renoir painted the famous "camembert": these five paintings are now known internationally.
That same summer, Napoléon III (nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte) had heard about this intriguing place and came to visit along with his wife Empress Eugénie, his son and other members of Court.
After the Prussian war (the winter of 1870-71), the place was frequented by the whole of the Paris art and writing scene and also by families who came on Sundays to bathe, or to dance at the Thursday evening parties: it was known as the Parisian "Trouville".
In 1889, the floating pontoon was destroyed by a fire and thus the dancehall disappeared completely.
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The Ile de la Grenouillère (also known as the Ile de la Chaussée) was often frequented from the beginning of the 19th century.
Auguste Renoir, Le bras vif à Croissy, 1911
Hiroshima Museum of Art