Entertainment after the Revolution: the Tivoli Gardens

Memento from Tivoli, 1795-1799
Memento from Tivoli, 1795-1799

This entrance gave access to the Tivoli Gardens. Before the Revolution, this place was already popular: well-to-do Parisians paid good money to unwind amidst the exotic plants. It was a little like if an amusement park had been built inside a botanical garden! The “Folie-Boutin,” like it was then called, was also known as the “Tivoli Gardens” in homage to an Italian city famous for its water gardens. However, the owner of the Tivoli was executed in 1794 for having tried to flee the country. The gardens did not open again until 1795: it was one of the fashionable places in which the new bourgeoisie displayed its wealth, as well as its desire to forget the Revolution and its plans for equality.

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Undemocratic gardens

Restaurants, “salons” and private gardens were the new fashionable places in Paris during the Directory (1795-1799). Here, one could find “gilded youth,” these sons of the bourgeoisie who refused to go and fight for the Republic. These were also the favorite places of the “Incroyables” and “Merveilleuses,” rich women who did not hide their disregard for the Revolution. To attract customers, the owners’ imaginations knew no limit: they proposed fireworks, concerts, galas and even hot-air balloon rides. The Revolution had removed the inequalities of birth, but not the ones based on wealth!

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