Much of Parc Monceau is ringed with 18th- and 19th-century mansions, some evoking Proust's Remembrance of Things Past especially since he frequently wandered here. Louis Carrogis Carmontelle designed it in 1778 as a private hideaway for the duc d'Orléans (who came to be known as Philippe-Egalité), at the time the richest man in France. The Duke was a close friend of the Prince of Wales, later George IV, and a lover of all things English. His intention was to create what was then called an Anglo-Chinese or English garden, on the earlier model of Stowe House in England (1730–1738), with its examples of the architectural folly, or fantastic reconstructions of buildings of different ages and continents. It was similar in style to several other examples of the French landscape gardens built at about the same time, including the Desert de Retz, the gardens of the Château de Bagatelle and the Folie Saint James.
I am breaking this post on Bagatelle into smaller pieces, this is the second part on the gardener's house, seen above. As I said in the previous post, the Count d'Artois, Louis XVI's younger brother, and thus Marie-Antoinette's brother-in-law, had bought a house, in very bad condition, existing on this site. Marie-Antoinette, amused by the poor condition of the place when she visited it for the first time, said to her brother-in-law that she hoped to be accommodated there two months later. Artois took up the challenge, and it is said that he bet 100,000 pounds with the Queen. Artois won his bet, two days later the architect Bélanger had drawn the plans of the folie, and nine hundred workmen leveled the buildings and prepared the ground. By November of 1777 the house, or as the French call it folie, was completed. The name Bagatelle comes from the Italian bagattella, means a trifle, or little decorative nothing. In 1777 a party was thrown in the recently completed house in honor of Louis XVI and the Queen.