Today on Notes from the Road, I’m sharing a beautiful spot to visit in Paris. Paris is famous for its gorgeous parks and gardens, and there are many to visit that are delightful. This one? It’s a beauty, and not as well known to tourists as some.  It’s the Best Kept Secret Garden In Paris! So today…voila, let’s visit Parc de Bagatelle.

Best Kept Secret Garden In Paris


The Parc de Bagatelle is right in the heart of the Bois de Boulogne. It’s one of the four grand botanical gardens in Paris. It all began with a bet between Marie Antoinette and her brother-in-law, the Comte d’Artois. They wagered that the count would not be able to build a château on his large property west of Paris in less than three months.


The Comte won the bet! Sparing no expense, he had his petit château built in 63 days in 1777.  The Comte wanted a maison de plaisance, meant for brief stays while hunting in the Bois de Boulogne.


chateau bagatelle print


Best Kept Secret Garden In Paris

{the bathing pool is no longer there, it was taken down in 1808.}



Designed by the neoclassical architect  François-Joseph Bélanger, the building remains in the park today. It was the only residence ever designed and built expressly for the Comte, it’s estimated that the project, which came to include manicured gardens, employed eight hundred workers and cost over three million livre tournois.


bagatelle chateau



To celebrate the completion of his folie known as the Bagatelle {which means little trifle} the Comte d’Artois threw a glorious housewarming party in honor of his brother king Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

Unfortunately, he was able to keep his bagatelle and its beautiful gardens for only a few years, he was forced to give up the property during the French Revolution.


Best Kept Secret Garden In Paris


Miraculously the Bagatelle château and park survived the revolutionary mobs!  Then it was owned by several owners including Napoleon’s son, the Bourbons, the Marquess of Hertford and a few others. Finally in 1905, the City of Paris purchased the Bois de Boulogne property to save and maintain this architectural and garden jewel.

The Commissioner of Gardens for Paris in 1905, Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, redeveloped the gardens but retained their original style. In order to make the French public more aware of the growing popularity of horticulture, Forestier created temporary as well as permanent collections of horticultural plants.


Best Kept Secret Garden In Paris


Best Kept Secret Garden In Paris


He created the famous rose gardens , the iris garden, and designed a pond to improve the presentation of aquatic plants and water lilies so cherished by the painter Claude Monet.


Best Kept Secret Garden In Paris


In 1907 he organized the first international competition for new roses, which still happens each year in June!  The gardens are especially famous for their beautiful peonies, white wisteria and irises.  The rose gardens are stunning, and huge! There are over 10.00 roses in the rose gardens from 1.200 different species.


The Parc de Bagatelle is a great place to take a long relaxing walk.  There are many huge trees, and such a varied plant life, as well as caves, rocks, waterfalls and beautiful birds! The 19th century Chinese pagoda is just one of the many park treasures to see.


Best kept secret park


The Bagatelle is one of the best kept secrets of Paris!  Many visitors don’t even know it’s there, and there is so much to see.  And we haven’t even peeked into the chateau yet!


Fabulous romantic garden in the Bois de Boulogne.


Open to the public every day from 9;30am to 4;30 or 6:00 depending on the season. The chateau is open for a guided tour on Sundays at 3:00. Make sure to check all these dates and times if you go…these may have changed.


Entrance is free unless there is a special exhibition going on at that moment. Guided tour of the chateau is 6 – 8 Euros per person.


The easiest way is to take a taxi…your driver will know! Bus: Take the 43 bus direction ‘Neuilly-Bagatelle’ to the stop Place de Bagatelle. Metro:  Take the metro to the stop ‘Porte Maillot’ on line 1 and then catch the 244 bus direction Rueil Malmaison RER, and get off at the stop Bagatelle – Pré Catelan. From the bus stops, it’s a fairly easy and short walk to the park.


antique French print

There is a gift shop, a book shop and a restaurant.

Route de Sèvres à Neuilly
75016 Paris

I hope you will be able to visit this gem, the Best Kept Secret Garden in Paris!

If you are loving your own garden and creating your own best kept secret haven, be sure to visit our Garden Antiques page often, we are getting more gardening antiques to add to the shop.

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