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Under the Floral Spell: Art, Architecture and Roses at Bagatelle

Published on , by Susan Taylor-Leduc

Every year the gardens of Bagatelle, in Paris, attract rose gardeners from around the world to judge the beauty of the queen of flowers. The roses are just one of the attractions on this 59-acre historic site where one of the most famous rose queens, Marie-Antoinette, indirectly contributed to the creation of the gardens.

View of Bagatelle, ParisPhoto by Benchaum Under the Floral Spell: Art, Architecture and Roses at Bagatelle

View of Bagatelle, Paris
Photo by Benchaum

One century after its construction, an English collector, the Marquis of Hertford, enchanted by the house, named Bagatelle, purchased it. Hertford amassed an exceptional collection of artworks and decorative objects including works by Rubens, Titian, Fragonard , Rembrandt , Jean-Henri Riesener and porcelain from the Sèvres Manufacture , now housed at the Wallace Collection in London. In October 1777, Queen Marie-Antoinette, an avid gambler, accepted a wager proffered by her brother-in-law, the Count of Artois at Bagatelle.  Artois wagered that he could build a pleasure pavilion surrounded by a garden that would surpass the beauty of the queen’s gardens and pavilion at the Petit Trianon, at Versailles , in less than three months’ time. Overseen by architect François Belanger (1744-1818), Artois hired over 900 masons,…
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