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The well-maintained gardens of the Parc de Bagatelle are located at the heart of the Bois de Boulogne, a vast woodland to the west of Paris, not far from Neuilly-sur-Seine and Suresnes. Bagatelle is well-known for its very romantic scenery and also for its exquisite rose garden.


Description and History of the Parc de Bagatelle

 Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
English garden © French Moments

Bagatelle derives from the Italian bagattella, meaning a trifle. In French, une bagatelle means something of little importance or value.

The park features a charming small palace, the château de Bagatelle. The small neoclassical chateau was initially built for the Maréchal d’Estrées in 1720. The estate was bought in 1775 by the Count of Artois (Louis XVI’s brother and future Charles X). Marie-Antoinette bet with her brother-in-law that he would build a ‘maison de plaisance’ within three months. The count commissioned from François-Joseph Bélanger the design of a neoclassical residence. It only took 63 days to complete the construction work and the Count of Artois won his bet.

 Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Château de Bagatelle © French Moments

The formal gardens that surrounded the chateau were later expanded with a vast English-Chinese garden by Scottish garden designer Thomas Blaikie.

Many remarkable trees have been planted since the end of the 18th century: oak trees, pine trees, sequoias, cedars…

The Bagatelle park is dotted with follies such as the ruins of an abbey, numerous statues, a pagoda, little bridges, grottoes, artificial waterfalls and gloriettes.

Collections of roses, irises, perennials, clematises, peonies and other flowers are showcased in Bagatelle Park. From 1905, Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, the Commissioner of Gardens for the City of Paris, worked on turning the park into a botanical domain, now one of Paris’ four botanical gardens.

Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Yellow rose © French Moments

In June of each year, the prestigious international competition for new roses (Concours international de roses nouvelles) takes place in the rose trial grounds of the Bagatelle Park. Today, the rose garden of Bagatelle displays 10,000 rose bushes from 1,200 different species.

Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Roses, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments

Features of Bagatelle Park

Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
In the English garden © French Moments

The entrances dating from 1835

The medieval-style entrance on the Route de Sèvres near Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Medieval entrance of Route de Sèvres, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Medieval entrance of Route de Sèvres © French Moments

The wrought-iron gates and Pavillon Louis XV leading to Allée de Longchamp.

The entrance gate towards Allée de Longchamp, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
The entrance gate towards Allée de Longchamp © French Moments
Louis XV Pavillon, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Louis XV pavillon © French Moments

The castle

The Circular Court (Cour Circulaire) and its statues near the Route de Sèvres entrance.

Statue in circular court, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Statue in circular court © French Moments

The Court of honour (Cour d’Honneur) in front of the small chateau.

Bagatelle © French Moments
The château of Bagatelle © French Moments

The chateau of Bagatelle. At the top of the porch and above a ornate wrought-iron balcony, the chateau carries the Latin inscription: “Parvus sed altus” (“Small by able, sufficient for all needs”.

Chateau de Bagatelle © French Moments
Detail of the Chateau de Bagatelle © French Moments

The chateau’s formal garden (Parterre du Château)

Formal garden of the chateau de Bagatelle © French Moments
Formal garden of the chateau de Bagatelle © French Moments

The Trianon

Trianon, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Trianon, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments

The Nymph Pond (Bassin aux Nymphéas)

The romantic Nymph Pond, created in 1850-1860.

Nymph Pond, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Nymph Pond © French Moments

The grotto and waterfall

Grotto and Waterfall, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Grotto and waterfall © French Moments

Other features in the Anglo-Chinese garden

The Landscape rose garden (Rosiers du Paysage)

Landscape rose garden, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Landscape rose garden © French Moments

The Great Rock (Grand Rocher) and the artificial waterfall

Great Waterfall, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Great Waterfall © French Moments

The Four Wings grotto (Grotte des quatre vents)

Four Wings Grotto, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Four Wings Grotto © French Moments

The Black Swans’ pond (Pièce d’eau des cygnes noirs)

Black swans' pond © French Moments
Black swans’ pond © French Moments

The ruins of the Longchamp Abbey

Ruins of the Longchamp Abbey © French Moments
Ruins of the Longchamp Abbey © French Moments

The 19th century Chinese pagoda

Chinese pagoda © French Moments
Chinese pagoda © French Moments

The spiralling ramp leading up to the belvédère (viewpoint)

Spiral labyrinth © French Moments
Spiral labyrinth © French Moments

The rose garden

The Orangerie building (1835) and its formal garden

Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
The Orangerie © French Moments

The vast rose garden

Rose garden, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Rose garden © French Moments

The Kiosque de l’Impératrice of Victorian style overlooking the rose garden from a small mound.

Empress Kiosk and rose garden, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Empress Kiosk and rose garden © French Moments

The kitchen garden and Jardin des Présentateurs

Created in 1905 to display new varieties of vegetable plants. It is adorned with a long pergola.

Kitchen garden, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Kitchen garden © French Moments
Pergola in Jardin des Présentateurs, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Pergola in Jardin des Présentateurs © French Moments
Pergola in Jardin des Présentateurs, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments
Jardin des Présentateurs, Parc de Bagatelle © French Moments

Find out more about the Parc de Bagatelle on the offical website of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.


 

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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