Pleasures and Pastimes of the Bourgeoisie


18th Century French Gardens
~ Pre -revolution

~Fashion in Les Mis

~Rise in Popularity
~Economic and Social Symbolism
~Representation in Les Mis

Gardens ~17th Century ~18th Century ~19th Century ~Versailles

Gambling ~Pre-Revolutionary ~Cafés & Cercles

Opéra & Theatre
~The Revolution
~Social Status
~Les Misérables

Etiquette ~Promenade ~Dances ~Dinner ~Casinos and Salons

Bibliography ~Fashion ~Etiquette ~Restaurants ~Opéra ~Picture Bibliography



In the 18th century England gave birth to a style of gardens that focused on the rediscovery of nature. This type of garden gained popularity in France for its connection to Rousseau's ideals of natural escapes within the city. In France, this style became known as "le jardin paysager" or the landscape garden. (Van Zuylen, 81)


Jardins de la Reine, Richard Micque, 1783

This picture shows the plan for Petit Trianon during the 18th century. The plans obviously differ from the previous geometrical trends, as seen in Versailles. Here the paths wind around numerous free-formed gardens.


Gardens such as the one seen below began the trend of gardens as an area for bourgeois strolling. Although strolling would not become a institute of bourgeois life until the 19th century, it is easy to see how "le jardins paysager" opened itself to this practice. The long, winding pathways surrounded by gardens and acres of natural lands, seen in the plan above, allowed visitors to escape into the peacefulness of the countryside.


Le Jardin anglais de Caserte, Philip Hackert1 , 1780

Although this is a painting of an English garden, it clearly shows the style known as "jardin paysager" that became popular in France around the 18th century.



By examining the two images below one can see how drastically garden styles changed between the 17th and 18th centuries. All sense of geometry and organization is gone, and is replaced with a very relaxed, natural setting.


Chateau Change en Manoir Romantique (avant) Alexandre de Laborde, 1808

This drawing shows an artist's interpretation of the a mansion during the 17th century. This clearly shows the traditional geometric ridigity of the period.

Chateau Change en Manoir Romantique (apres) Alexandre de Laborde, 1808

This drawing shows the same artist's interpretation of the same mansion having undergone a make-over to suit the freer style of the 18th centuy.



The beauty and simplicity of "le jardin paysager," coupled with gardens' increasingly touted health benefits, founded the French garden as an ideal place for bourgeois socializing. The overall appeal of the French garden to the bourgeoisie was the goal of a Rousseau-inspired escape to nature, while one remained in Paris. In Nicholas Green's article he quotes Jules Simon as having reminisced on how "in certain corners of the Luxembourg garden you could almost believe yourself in the countryside. There was nothing more delicious, after a wearying day, than to find yourself hidden among these great trees, to forget Paris in the center of Paris, to smell the invigorating scents of earth and vegetation." The attempts to achieve this sense of escape from the city into the countryside can be seen in the many aspects that constitute a French garden. To learn more about the components of French gardens in the past see the sites concerning 17th century gardens and the gardens of the nobility. In the next century of gardens it is apparent that there was one last aspect missing from French gardens. To explore the 19th century gardens please follow this link: 19th century gardens


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