Frantsuzsky Boulevard and Odessa dachas

Are you interested to know what is it - this Frantsuzsky Boulevard in Odessa? Well, the Frantsuzsky Boulevard can tell you a lot. . Odessa was often named the "small Paris". And really, the gallant French (in Russian - Frantsuzsky) spirit was hovering over the Old Odessa where women were called "Mesdames" and the "Clico" champagne appeared earlier than the domestic wine did. .

In the XIX century on the place of the today's Frantsuzsky Boulevard there was just a verdant cozy district overlooking the sea-shore. Rich Odessites had their dachas (villas and country houses) there. It was always in fashion to have a dacha on that virgin spot of Odessa. For example, on the territory of the present Chkalov sanatorium first was the dacha of the French merchant Zhan Reno where Alexander Pushkin was often listening to the sea and where he met that charming young Odessa lady whose profile then decorated all the Pushkin's poetic manuscripts written in Odessa. Later, on that very place there was the dacha of Grigoriy Marazli - one of the best Odessa governors. It's interesting enough that the Frantsuzsky Boulevard - the ideally straight and rather wide road connecting Odessa center with Arcadia - got its only turning to the right just across the Marazli's dacha.

It hadn't be so when it was planning. Why instead of leading directly to Arcadia the Frantsuzsky Boulevard had got that strange turning?. Today it's difficult to imagine how the road looked like before 1902. Then it even had another name - there was Malofontanskaya Doroga (Small Fountain Road if to translate into English).

And that was not more than an out-of-town road, narrow and winding, without any pavements and generally, rather ugly. But in 1894 Odessa got the new city engineer - Vasiliy Ivanovich Zuev. And that was his idea to reconstruct the Malofontanskaya Doroga and to turn it into the gorgeous boulevard with maples, wide pavements and tram way. Historically the Frantsuzsky Boulevard was the first road in Odessa covered with tar. The new road-building was so important event for the Old Odessa that all Odesa newspapers were writing about that within several months.

Widening and flattening of the road required to cut some parts of the private estate. And many rich Odesa landlords gave their lands as a sacrifice for that construction! For instance, the famous victualer Skveder - the owner of the "Fankoni"-café - just gave his lands there without any compensation - that was a time! And only Grigoriy Marazli - and that was very strange for the first sight! - refused to cut any spot of his estate. You should know that Marazli was not just a city governor - he was the greatest patron of Odessa for all the history, he gave a lot of his own money for Odesa development and different philanthropic purposes. Why did he refuse cutting some small parts of his estate for such an important road-building? The answer was that Marazli had there a wonderful park with plenty of marble sculptures. That park was called "smiling" by the great Russian artist P.Nilus.

That park was almost alive for his owner - that's why Marazli refused to cut it. And the city respected the governor's will - amortization was cancelled, the park kept untouched, but the new Frantsuzsky Boulevard got its only turning to the right just across the Marazli's dacha. During the Soviet period Frantsuzsky Boulevard was a fashionable place as well.

Then it was called Proletarskiy Boulevard. And plenty of sanatoriums and resorts occupied old villas and new buildings. Nowadays this is the most respectful city-district where our new-Odessites (rich and fashion Odessa people) prefer to live and to have a rest at the "Dacha" restaurant. By the way, nearby the restaurant, on the territory of the Chkalov sanatorium you can see the desolate but still beautiful greenhouse - just a small reminder about Marazli's dacha.

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By: Lora Osipenko



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