Address: Sèvres-to-Neuilly Road
Arrondissement: 16
How to get there : Pont de Neuilly & bus 43
                                     or Porte Maillot and bus 244

Bagatelle has not only an atmosphere of poetic beauty and serenity on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne close to the bustle of Paris, but is also a place of great historical and horticultural interest. Its history stretches back almost three centuries including a château which is an 18th century 'folly'. Since 1905, it has belonged to the City of Paris and is used for exhibitions, concerts and cultural events. The Scottish gardener Thomas Blaikie was commissioned to lay out the grounds.

The charm of Bagatelle lies in its scenic variety; the water lilies, the big rockery, the orangery and its floral parterres, the footpaths in tunnels cut in the greenery and big spaces planted with trees. The rose garden is laid out in the purest of French styles with 9000 roses from 1000 varieties in bloom in June. In 1992 France established a national collection of clematis at the Bagatelle Garden.

The Bagatelle was originally just a small house bought by the Maréchal d'Estrées in 1720. Soon afterwards transformed into a luxurious small castle, it turned into an extremely costly folly.

Christened "Bagatelle", it was to become a location for festivities and a hunting meet. In 1770 Count Chimay, the chief huntsman of Count d'Artois, brother of Louis XVI became the owner. Invited by Chimay, Count d'Artois developed a passion for the estate and bought it in 1775. He demolished the now decaying folly and built another even grander and quite extraordinary castle. This saw the appearance of a fabulous estate with a landscaped park.

The cost of the work was estimated at over two million pounds.

Miraculously spared during the Revolution, Bagatelle experienced several fates: as a restaurant in 1797, then as a hunting meet under Napoléon, the estate being returned to the family of Count d'Artois under the Restoration.

Bagatelle was reborn when it was bought by Lord Seymour in 1835.

With the addition of a grand entrance on the park side, an orangery and new stables, the park was extended then transformed into the Jardin Napoléon III in the second half of the XIXth century.

Sir Richard Wallace, the adopted son of Lord Seymour, had the Trianon built and the two present sentry pavilions and the two terraces which still exist.
In 1905 Bagatelle was sold to the City of Paris.

Just prior to its redevelopment, Bagatelle was a strange sight. A landscape where rivers, paths and beds of flowers, created in the XIXth century, softened the surprise effects of the pre-romantic gardens of the Count d'Artois without detracting from its spirit.

From 1905, the J.C.N. Forestier, the Commissioner of the Jardins de Paris, succeeded in retaining the garden's style whilst at the same time redeveloping it.

In order to make the public more aware of the growing popularity of horticulture, J.C.N. Forestier created temporary and permanent collections of horticultural plants.

He built the famous rose gardens, the iris garden and the presenters, designed a pond to improve the presentation of aquatic plants and water lilies which were so dear to the painter Claude Monet. In 1907 he organized the first international competition for new roses.
Jules Gravereaux provided the original roses.

Exhibitions, concerts and various cultural events are periodically held in the castle and the magnificent Bagatelle gardens.

1 - large rock and its basin
2 - cave of the four winds
3 - basin of the geese of Magellan
4 - bridge
5 - bridge
6 - basin of the black swans, island of the tombs and a rock-cave
7 - ruins "of the abbey of Longchamp"
8 - ice-house
9 - vase decorated with a fauna
10 - Blaikie's lawn
11 - French garden
12 - Chinese house
13 - obelisk
14 - tomb of Pharaoh
15 - bridge out of roots
16 - sunken lane
17 - white bridge
18 - house of the pages
19 - Dutch house
20 - pond of the water lilies and rockery
21 - house in Louis XVI style
22 - pagodon
23 - Japanese mirror
24 - Trianon
25 - houses of the guards
26 - stables
27 - garden of the challengers
28 - house of the gardener
29 - orangery
30 - view-point
31 - the French floor
32 - kitchen garden
33 - rosery
34 - kiosk of the Empress
F - the folie
E - entrance of the park


About the only downside to this beautiful garden is that there is no convenient Métro stop nearby. You have to hop on a bus to make the connection but it is well worth the little extra effort. The roses are magnificent and the perennials beds and borders provide a lot of interest for the horticulturally inclined.

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