Château de Bagatelle

Paris, France

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.

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Founded: 1777
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in France

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Srishilpa M (48 days ago)
It was really excited to see peacock. It will touch us and stay along with us for sometime. Lot of varieties of roses, children playground is also available.
Sarah Wassermann (51 days ago)
One of the most beautiful parks in the Parisian region once the flowers show themselves
Alexandre Alex (3 months ago)
A nice place to relax, bbq or kite flying if there is wind.
Jeanne Berger (4 months ago)
Parc de Bagatelle is worth visiting throughout the year. Wonderful to see the changes that come with the seasons.
Thomas Endres (6 months ago)
Great and easy to reach park, lots of animals for children to see. Definitely worth going, free during winter.
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