Pleasures and Pastimes of the Bourgeoisie


19th Century Strolling Gardens: The Gardens of the Bourgeoisie
~ 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 19th century gardens had reached their peak in the daily life of the bourgeoisie. All the aspects of the 17th and 18th century gardens had ultimately led to a garden of the following structure: carefully laid out to provide visitors an interesting path on which to walk, the appearance of free-formed nature and the addition of flowers. Until the 19th century flowers were not the main focus of the garden. Flowering trees and bushes would be present, but there was no emphasis on flowerbeds. This provided the final touch needed to make strolling through a garden the ultimate relaxation and enjoyment within a bourgeoisie's daily routine.


Parterres de fleurs des jardins Wilton, E. Adveno Brook, 1857

This painting shows a standard 19th century flowering garden. The idea of flowerbeds was relatively unexplored until this time.


Within these gardens the bourgeoisie practiced their social skills by displaying their clothes and their etiquette. They also took great pleasure in having the luxury to stroll in gardens, for it was a sure sign of the wealth, and therefore lack of responsability, that separated them from the lower classes and placed them near the level of aristocracy. It is easy to see how the French strolling gardens became a prime arena in which members of the bourgeoisie could continue their struggle to attain aristocratic status.


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