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The Jardin Turc ("Turkish Garden") in the boulevard du Temple, Paris, was a celebrated café and music garden that was a popular rendezvous in the city's Marais district from the time of the First French Empire throughout the nineteenth century. From four in the afternoon until eleven at night, one might enjoy its exotic decor with kiosks of coloured glass, hanging lanterns and a Chinese bridge,[1] expressing a recurrent whimsical fad of turqueries,[2] a sub-set of chinoiserie. Octave Uzanne[3] recalled with only a trace of condescension its bourgeois clientele drawn from the world of business, its family groups and pomaded dandies promenading in its formal allées[4] and enjoying foaming beer in the cabinets de verdure that were surrounded by well-clipped greenery, which one might reserve for a private party.[5] Street entertainers were another draw for the Parisian middle classes: "Vaudeville and harlequinades are offered all over the garden," a contemporary journalist remarked.[6] "The refreshments are not particularly good, but the musicians and actors must be paid somehow." In 1835-38 Louis Antoine Jullien[7] conducted the band that had first been assembled by Auguste Tolbecque at the Jardin Turc during his youth, performing the quadrilles, of eight figures danced by four couples, that were the means by which most Parisians heard the tunes of the latest operas in the 1830s and 40s in simplified versions;[8] his quadrille based on Les Huguenots was perennially popular.[9]

Victor de Jouy noted Le jardin Turc in an essay of 1811[10] as so jammed that it was insufficient to the crowds that besieged it, while nearby the Jardin des Princes offered "all the charms of solitude". He returned to it in an essay "Le Jardin turc", 16 July 1814, noting that it was fashionable to decry it as bourgeois; unaccompanied young couples strolled in its allées and the ébénistes of the faubourg Saint-Antoine enjoyed beers in its pavilion; parties of too-lively soldiers filled a kiosk lit by stained glass, and everywhere the author seemed to find tête-à-têtes and conversations unsuitable for the children who accompanied him, in a mix of compasny both good and low that made him reflect that good manners belonged to certain families and not to certain districts. Léopold Boilly painted the crowd at L'entree du Jardin Turc ("The Entrance to the Turkish Garden Cafe") in 1812, and showed the genre piece at the Paris Salon that year.[11]. In Boilly's painting, the café's demure façade offers little in a very recognizable Turkish vein to the boulevard save the device of the crescent moon. Opposite the entrance in boulevard du Temple, General Mortier was killed, 28 July 1835, by the "infernal machine", a bomb intended for Louis-Philippe, with whom he was riding. The proprietor of the Jardin Turc, Bonvallet, was among the Marais citizens who strenuously objected to Louis Napoleon's coup d'état of 2 December 1851, calling themselves "Montagnards" to recall the heady days of the First French Republic. One harangued the people in the boulevard from a balcony of "citoyen Bonvallet, restaurateur", declaring that président Napoléon had placed himself beyond the law; the police soon appeared, and the radicals beat a hasty retreat.[12]. Bonvallet continued the café of the Jardin-Turc into the years before World War I.[13]


  1. ^ Marvin Carlson, "The Golden Age of the Boulevard" The Drama Review: TDR 18.1, Popular Entertainments (March 1974:25-33 ) p. 28.
  2. ^ The growing interest in things Turkish about 1840 is discussed in Ralph P. Locke, "Cutthroats and Casbah Dancers, Muezzins and Timeless Sands: Musical Images of the Middle East" 19th-Century Music 22.1 (Summer 1998:20-53), especially p. 29f.
  3. ^ Uzanne, Les Modes de Paris 1797-1897 (1898) (On-line text)
  4. ^ The fastidious Alfred de Vigny took his Julia there in May 1838 as their romance blossomed. (Blanche A. Price, "Alfred de Vigny and Julia" MLN 77.5 (December 1962:449-462) p. 450).
  5. ^ "The old Jardin Turc is now a restaurant, kept by Bonvallet, and much frequented. To obtain a cabinet, it must be secured days beforehand." ("Sketches of life in Paris," from The New Monthly Magazine, in Littell's Living Age Series iv 8 January-March 1868:.
  6. ^ The Tribune Volatile, quoted in Carlson 1974:28
  7. ^ Louis-Antoine Jullien (1812-1860) was a very eccentric conductor and composer, popular in France, then in the U.K and in the USA. See the Louis Jullien site (in French) introducing the first biography published on him.
  8. ^ Maribeth Clark, "The Quadrille as Embodied Musical Experience in 19th-Century Paris" The Journal of Musicology 19.3 (Summer 2002:503-5260.
  9. ^ J. G. Prod'homme; Theodore Baker, "Wagner, Berlioz and Monsieur Scribe: Two Collaborations That Miscarried" The Musical Quarterly 12.3 (July 1926:359-375) p. 369.
  10. ^ Essay "Macécoine", 24 August 1811, collected in L'Hermite de la Chaussée d'Antin, ou observations sur les moeurs et les usages français au commencement du xixe siecle, vol. I (1812-1814).
  11. ^ John Stephen Hallam, "The Two Manners of Louis-Léopold Boilly and French Genre Painting in Transition" The Art Bulletin 63.4 (December 1981:618-633) pp 629-32.
  12. ^ Victor Schoelcher, Histoire des crimes du deux décembre. (London 1852) p. 141.
  13. ^ It is listed in the 1904 Baedeker guide, Paris and Environs: With Routes from London to Paris : Handbook for Travellers, p. 22



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