As I have discussed in previous posts, the neoclassical Château Bagatelle was built in about two months in 1777 as a wager between Marie Antoinette and the Count d'Artois, Louis XVI's younger brother. The central building above is the Château, modified in 1835 by Lord Seymour, marchion of Hertford. Wanting a house wider than the existing building, he removed one floor, which transformed its proportions. 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 in London. Bagatelle underwent five years of redecorating and extensions, and then Lord Hertford did not reside in it until 1848. He also built the “Trianon”, seen in the above picture to the left of the château, for his son Richard Wallace.
The Château appears sort of suddenly, one minute you are walking in the forest and the next you are in what appears to be an endless meadow of green, green grass with a Château in the distance, like what else would you expect to be there? This is all just a few miles from where we stay in densely populated Paris, and just beyond are lots of skyscrapers. But here, in Bagatelle, there is nothing to see but forests and meadows, as far as you can see. I can almost imagine I am in the countryside of England, with the endless lawns we have come to expect from Downton Abbey. It is truly a small miracle of Paris.
They have these two sort of creepy sphinx statues flanking the door with cherubs on their back, very British looking. This is really the rear of the Château, the front is on the other side.
The house was closed the day we visited, but I managed to get some pictures of the interior through the windows. I love that harpsichord in the music room. Although the rooms are a little small, they certainly are elegantly fitted out.
They had a nice collection of Peonies on the side of the formal garden. Marie José of Belgium (1906-2001) was the last Queen of Italy. Her 35-day tenure as queen consort earned her the affectionate nickname “the May Queen” or Reine de Mai. I wonder if this last one was named for her, although she was born the year after it was named.
This is the view from the front of the Château, with the Trianon off to the left where his son Richard Wallace lived. The entrance is sunken with terraces on both sides.
On the terrace opposite the Trianon they had absolutely gorgeous Wisteria dripping off the sides. I happen to love Wisteria and I am going to close the post with the memory of the flowers and the fragrance of that Wisteria. If you get a chance, visit the Château yourself, you won't be disappointed. Tours of the Château on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays at 3PM.
Wallace Fountains: /wallace-fountains-paris/
Bagatelle for Lunch: /bagatelle-for-lunch-paris/
Bagatelle Gardener's House: /bagatelle-gardeners-house-paris/
Robert Arnoux at Bagatelle: /robert-arnoux-a-bagatelle-paris/
Château de Bagatelle Tours: http://www.parisinfo.com/sites-culturels/22/chateau-de-bagatelle