Pleasures and Pastimes of the Bourgeoisie


Gardens of the Nobility: The Development of Versailles
~ 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



Much like the bourgeoisie, the nobility utilized gardens to display their wealth. The difference, of course, was that the nobility displayed their wealth not in the garden, but through the garden. By building large and interesting gardens on his property nobles were able to gain notoriety. The size and the various elements of the garden, such as aviaries, menageries, and fountains were all components of a garden that could speak of a noble's status.

For instance, the garden at Versailles was not always the vast beautiful park that it is now. In fact, the Marechal de Bassompierre once commented that the King was not inclined to bother with building gardens, "unless one wishes to reproach him for the lowly Chateau de Versailles, in whose construction even a simple gentleman could not take pride." (Adams, p. 79) This simultaneously shows the obsession with the construction of gardens at the time, as well as the interestingly meager beginnings of the garden at Versailles.

Below are several plans and drawings which demonstrate the lengthy formation of Versailles over the later half of the 17th century.


Figure 1: A plan of Versailles dating from 1677, which shows the earliest garden scheme by Le Notre, one of the foremost architects to work on Versailles.. (Adams, p. 100)



Figure 2: A drawing of le petit parc by Silvestre, dating from 1680. (Adams, p. 100)



Figure 3: The layout of the Versailles gardens and park in 1693. The garden was completed according to this plan under the reign of Louis XIV. This last phase of work on Versailles coincided with the establishment of Versailles as the official seat of government. (Adams, p. 100)


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