The Château de Bagatelle is a small neoclassical château with a French landscape garden in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. The château is intended for brief stays while hunting in the Bois and it was initially built as a small hunting lodge for the Maréchal d'Estrées in 1720. Bagatelle from the Italian bagattella, means a trifle, or little decorative nothing. In 1775, the Comte d'Artois, Louis XVI's brother, purchased the property from the prince de Chimay. The Comte soon had the existing house torn down with plans to rebuild. Famously, Marie-Antoinette wagered against the Comte, her brother-in-law, that the new château could not be completed within three months. The Comte engaged the neoclassical architect François-Joseph Bélanger to design the building that remains in the park today. The Comte won his bet, completing the house, the only residence ever designed and built expressly for him, in sixty-three days, from September 1777.
It is estimated that the project, which came to include manicured gardens, employed eight hundred workers and cost over three million livres. Bélanger's brother-in-law Jean-Démosthène Dugourc provided much of the decorative detail. The central domed feature was a music-room. The master bedroom was fitted up in the manner of a military tent, and Hubert Robert executed a set of six Italianate landscapes for the bathroom. Most of the furnishings were provided by numerous Parisian marchand-merciers, notably Dominique Daguerre; a decorative painter was A.-L. Delabrière.
Following the Revolution, Napoleon I installed his son the Roi de Rome there, before the château was restored to the Bourbons. In 1835 it was sold by Henry, Count of Chambord to Francis Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford and was inherited on his death seven years later by his son the 4th Marquess, who already lived in Paris for most of the year. It contained the largest part of his extensive collection of French paintings, sculptures, furniture and works of decorative art, most of which went to form the Wallace Collection, London. Bagatelle underwent five years of redecorating and extensions, and then Lord Hertford did not reside in it until 1848.
Like most of his unentailed property, Bagatelle was left to his illegitimate son Sir Richard Wallace on Lord Hertford's death in 1870, as his entailed property and his title passed to a distant cousin. Bagatelle was acquired from his heir Sir John Murray-Scott by the City of Paris in 1905.
The Bagatelle gardens, created by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, are the site of the annual international competition for new roses run by the City of Paris in June of each year. The formal garden spaces surrounding the château, which was linked to its dependencies by underground tunnels, was expanded with a surrounding park in the naturalistic English landscape style by the Scottish garden-designer Thomas Blaikie, and dotted with sham ruins, an obelisk, a pagoda, primitive hermits' huts and grottoes.References:
Claude Monet lived for forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926, in Giverny. With a passion for gardening as well as for colours, he conceived both his flower garden and water garden as true works of art. Walking through his house and gardens, visitors can still feel the atmosphere which reigned at the home of the Master of Impressionnism and marvel at the floral compositions and nymphéas, his greatest sources of inspiration.
In 1890 Monet had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, famous for its rectangular Clos normand, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, and the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.
Today the Monet's Garden is open to the public.