Thursday, December 30, 2010

Parc & Château de Bagatelle part three

The Comte d'Artois

Every time I go to Paris,France one of my favorite places to go is the Parc & Château de Bagatelle. Located in the Bois de Boulogne. The Petit château was built by the Comte d'Artois and paid for by Marie Antoinette after she lost a bet. Marie-Antoinette wagered against the Comte, her brother-in-law, that the new château could not be completed within three months. The Comte won his bet, completing the house, the only residence ever designed and built expressly for him, in sixty-three days, from September 1777. The Comte engaged the neoclassical architect François-Joseph Bélanger to design the building. It is estimated that the project, which came to include manicured gardens, employed eight hundred workers working day and night cost over three million livres. The Comte was able to achieve building the small château by commandeering building material going to other building projects at great cost! Can you imagine in the 18th century everything tuck a long time to make, marble and wood was cut by man power. Building managers waiting for building supply's have to wait even longer because the Kings brother confiscated them. Bélanger's brother-in-law Jean-Démosthène Dugourc provided much of the decorative detail. The central domed feature was a music-room. The master bedroom was fitted up in the manner of a military tent, and Hubert Robert executed a set of six Italianate landscapes for the bathroom. Most of the ready made furnishings and decorative arts were provided by numerous Parisian marchand-merciers, notably Dominique Daguerre; a decorative painter was A.-L. Delabrière.

In 1905, Bagatelle was acquired by the City of Paris. The Bagatelle gardens, created by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, the Commissioner of Gardens for the city of Paris, are the site of the annual Concours international de roses nouvelles de Bagatelle, an international competition for new roses run by the City of Paris in June of each year. The rose gardens (over 9,000 plants today) are world famous. Exhibitions, concerts and various cultural events are periodically held in the castle and the magnificent Bagatelle gardens, which span 59 acres (24 hectares) in the Bois de Boulogne. The gardens are known for ducks and peacocks wandering around freely. The annual Festival de Chopin à Paris, founded in 1983, takes place each June and July at the Orangerie de Bagatelle.

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