This is the place where the secret society of George Batailles, Acèphale, used to celebrate the day of decapitation of Louis XVI. The park was built on the eve of the French Revolution; it was visited and admired by both Du Barry and Marie-Antoinette. Its main feature happens to be the Destroyed Tower, that is the way the tower was built. The owner of the park, François de Monville, an extravagant man, was living there, he also had a hermit living in a cabin next door, a real fake hermit: the man was not to bathe or ever cut his hair or nails.
The French Revolution had some special plans for such an extravagant man as Francois de Monville; he was tried, his crime officially defined as anglomania, then scheduled for guillotine, but happened to be forgotten in the dungeons: more important people always skip the line, Robespierre, for example, was a higher priority, thus allowing Francois de Monville to die from an infection subsequent to dental surgery, some three years later.
This spring, beginning this month of April, the famous little park, Désert de Retz, has flung its gates open to visitors. It is a little west of Paris in le Departement d’Yvelines of which Versailles is the capital. So if you are in Paris this summer, and have seen everything else, give them a call, it is by reservation only.
Désert de Retz
Allée Frédéric Passy
78 240 – CHAMBOURCY