Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"A Mere Trifle"!

It was on one lazy afternoon with his close friend and sister~in~law, Marie Antoinette, that The Count of Artois, brother of Louis XVI, proposed to build a folie (a bit of crazy, a flight of fancy) of grand proportions in three months. "I dare you!" retorted Marie Antoinette. "Bagatelle!" pronounced the Count (Bagatelle means a mere trifle). That, my friends is how this jewel of a garden was born! Thank goodness for the whims of the rich & idle!
In the XVIth arrondissement of Paris, we discover the glorious Jardin de Bagatelle. In 1775 the Count put over 900 men to work on this giant feat in order to win his bet! The men worked day & night tirelessly for 63 days! Can you imagine that this was done in only 63 days! Amazing.
The back of the Château de Bagatelle

This garden (or rather, gardens) is absolutely incredible, I happened to be there in the summer of 2000 when they had a hysterical , exhibit which was rumoured to have been put on by the "Garden Dwarf Liberation Front." This group "liberated" garden dwarves from all over France and set them free to roam in the Jardin de Bagatelle. Those little guys were everywhere! In the woods, in boats, emerging out of the ground like gophers, they had taken over the château and the grounds , there were a series of identical silver-plated dwarves arrayed in the formal garden keeping with the spirit of the garden around the round pool. Dwarves were peeping from every château window! Funny!

The beautiful albino Peacocks are heavenly
As are their very colorful counterparts!

I recommend taking a stroll though the park to admire the artificial rocks, the cascades, the little bridges over mirrors of water, the centuries-old trees, and especially the jewel of the Jardin de Bagatelle, the magnificent rose garden, containing over 1,100 varieties of roses. Every year since 1907, the famous New Roses competition has taken place in this rose garden.

The Jardin de Bagatelle consists of a landscaped park and a large number of small themed gardens, the Nymphéas pool, the iris garden, the garden of hardy plants and even has a bit of country nested in this royal playground in the form of a wonderful potager, or kitchen garden. This instructional yet beautiful garden represents the spirit of the French potager, which is beautiful and also full of wonderful things to eat.

The famous Water~Lily ponds

Claude Monet is said to have cherished these gardens and spent a great deal of time here. There is a Water~Lily pond that he loved and also painted. A beautiful spot indeed.

One could get lost in time wandering through these lush and glorious gardens as well as the Chateau itself which offers a unique example of Roccoco architecture and 18th century decor. The chateau also houses a bed & breakfast for anybody wanting to stay a little longer. It has two suites and I hear they are charming.

At the top of this staircase is the most wonderful little pagoda~like, gazebo~esque structure, which I could not find any pictures of. It is simply gorgeous! It has a lovely Asian feel to it with Gold leafing and designs with shades of Green/Blue on the underside of the roof. A beautiful place to take photos (ironic that I don't have one)! A truly magical place to visit!

The stunning Iris garden, which I must say, smells divine

During the Spring months many outdoor concerts and exhibitions are held here. A must for any nature lover.
Since I am a sucker for anything shiny, I had to include this dazzling exhibit.

The four most prestigious French crystal houses Baccarat, Daum, and Lalique have graced the gardens with chandeliers hanging from the trees, delicate sculptures decorating the fountains, stunning crystals at every turn, crystal swans swimming gracefully in the ponds, and sheets of diamond like crystal shimmering in the sun.

Bisou Mon Amis!
Photos via Flickr, Jardin de Bagatelle site, Wikipedia

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  1. You have the most stunning photos, love them. I am sorry I haven't commented much lately. I have been VERY busy. I have been a reader, just not a writer...sorry.
    Ness xx

  2. beautifully written, gorgeous photo's, I'm missing France already, thank you for such a wonderful post.

  3. Dear Judith,
    I wish I was Shimmering in the sun like those chandeliers instead of laying here with a painful broken arm. I've missed your posts but they definitely lifted my spirits this morning. I'm dreaming that that Lauderee truck pulls up to my door! Thank you for your messages - you're so thoughtful. I hope it won't be too long before I'm back writing. In the meantime I'll meet you right here!
    L, Catherine

  4. You did it again!!! Stunning! Believe it or not, in my 4 years there I never made it to this lovely park. I am adding it to my list for the next trip, toute de suite!

  5. It is many years since I have visited Paris and France but your photos are inspiring to get me back there soon!!

  6. ' a mere bagatelle' - I guess this expression came about this way. I adore the extravagant and eclectic use of space - the French are masters, whatever century. Those chandeliers in the trees - don't you just love them. xv

  7. BEAUTIFUL post... as always! I love visiting you... I feel better once I get my Parisian/French fix!

  8. I love the Bagatelle gardens and the especially the roses where they have their yearly competition.
    At the back of the Bagatelle maison are the most beautiful statues flagging the steps there.
    Thankyou for your photos!

  9. Again you take me on a splendid tour of the city I love and crave so much. There was so much I didn't do while I was in Paris I really appreciate your posts and how they take me back.

    Anna :)

  10. French Essence gave you an award Judith so have a look when you can. xv

  11. these shots are amazing. I love the baccarat crystal in the garden what a great idea. Carla

  12. Just goes to show that people were a tad crazy both back then and in 2000! Judith, I'm sorry I haven't been so great at commenting either - sometimes I think that in order to read and comment on all my favourite blogs I must stop blogging myself... *sigh*

  13. Gorgeous post! I will dig up my own pictures of Bagatelle and link to it.

  14. So pretty! I love all of the pics! You ALWAYS make me wish I'd been to Paris.

  15. I LOVE taking a moment visiting your blog! Such pretties! Simply unbelievable! I can't wait to make another trip to Paris!:o)


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