Monday, 2 November 2015

autumn colours at parc de bagatelle

What are your bets about? In my family we sometimes bet on who's right regarding the name of an actor, the lyrics of a song or what year something took place. That's not how Marie-Antoinette plays. When she bets with her brother-in-law the Compte d'Artois (Louis XVI's brother), they bet about whether you can build a château within three months. Turns out you can. Chateau de Bagatelle & its surrounding park was built within 63 days making the Comte the winner of the bet with a little help from 800 workers and at the cost of 3 million lives. Oops, good thing I re-read my sentences. Make that 3 million livres, not lives.

As you can see on the pictures, Château de Bagatelle is more of a mansion than a castle. The French call it maison de plaisance, a place where you go on weekends to hunt & party with your friends, but not only. The place was quite famous for its libertinage as well. Bagatelle comes from the Italian word bagatella meaning "hey, just a little decorative nothing" & above the main entrance you can still read these words: "Parvus sed aptus" small but sufficient.

Constructed in a very simple neoclassical style it is complete with an orangery (where classical concerts are sometimes held during summer), a magnificent rose garden with more than 1200 varieties, a nymph pond, an English-style garden, well pretty much all the basics you need for a little nothing. And why not throw in a few peacocks, swans & parakeets.

Parc de Bagatelle is located in Bois de Boulogne right outside of Paris. More info on this website where you can check the opening hours that vary greatly depending on the season. Entrance is free November-May & costs 3 to 6 euros the rest of the year.

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