Marie-Antoinette and Bagatelle castle's crazy bet

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Bagatelle castle in Paris Castle Festivities Marie-Antoinette Charles X

Bagatelle: a bet, a folie

Well, king Louis XVI's brother, count d'Artois, owned the estate in 1775 and raised a little castle, the current one. The legend says the count and Marie-Antoinette bet 100 000 livres: the sir said the building work would only take one month!

The queen and her brother-in-law often came her to gallop in the bois de Boulogne. They already noticed this pretty estate, hiding among the woods, near the river Seine, with a little castle raised for the marshal’s wife… perfect to withdraw from the Versailles’ etiquette!

Well, architect Galland took up the challenge in 64 days, with 900 workers, working days and night! The new castle cost 3 millions livres: people called it the folie d'Artois (a folie is a "country cottage", it also means ″madness″!).

The count refit the apartments; painter Dugourre decorated the living room, and the bathroom was adorned with paintings completed by Hubert Robert. The landscaper Blackie shaped the park: huge lawns, little copses, lakes, rivers, rustic bridges and antic statues...

Horses, turbots, partridges!

D’Artois won his bet… During the inauguration party, a play was performed: Marie-Antoinette played (of course) a maid, when suddenly, a big whistle happened: the king, Louis XVI, didn’t like the play. Hurt, the queen said: if you’re not pleased, you can go, but they won’t pay back your place! Ashamed, the king apologized…

The count came very often in Bagatelle, for hunting. He also made horse-races, because he was fond of that new fashion from England: hey, do you remember, he bought his horses in the castle of La Lorie)…

During his parties, there was a huge crowd: after that, the lawn and the small trees were completely crushed and puled out, like after a storm!

And d'Artois spent a fortune… His cellars were always full of champagne! 1500 bottles in 1782, says an inventory. The same inventories also mentioned a diner in 1781. 5 tables with 24 place settings, where people ate: 1 chicken from Caux area in Normandy, 6 red partridges, 48, wild birds from Chartres, 3 chickens à la reine, 8 woodcocks, 2 fat chickens and 3 ducks.

Plus fruits, bread, butter, soups and 8 bottles of champagne. Another time, there werer only fishes: aloses (kind of French herrings), sturgeons, turbots and cods.


And also!