Marie Antoinette Shocks Nobles by Taking a Bath

Daily bathing was not the fashion during Marie Antoinette‘s reign over France. French courtiers of the 18th century were all about sponging down the worst where necessary and saving baths for warm weather and emergencies. In fact, bathing was such a luxury that only wealthy nobles had bathing facilities in their own homes. Everyone else had either a bucket and sponge in front of the … Continue reading Marie Antoinette Shocks Nobles by Taking a Bath

Versailles: The Daily Ceremonies

In the heyday of Versailles’ majestic court life, ‘ceremonies’ were an integral part of life. The ceremonies were rituals that took place every day to showcase the royal family’s importance, and the court performed them with earnest sincerity. These ceremonies were for anything, such as the ‘debotter’ ceremony of removing the king’s boots, his waking up and going to bed ceremonies and the ritualistic ‘getting … Continue reading Versailles: The Daily Ceremonies

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) was the wife of Louis XVI and the Queen of France between 1774 and 1792. Marie Antoinette’s fate has made her the best-known of her 15 brothers and sisters who included the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II and Queen Maria Carolina of Sicily. Early Life Born in Vienna on 2 November 1755, Maria Antonia Anna Josepha was the fifteenth of the sixteen children of … Continue reading Marie Antoinette

Mesdames Tantes

Mesdames Tantes were the formidable daughters of Louis XV. They were not his only daughters – Louis had eight! One got married and moved away, one became a nun and three died of smallpox. The three sisters who remained at the Royal Court of Versailles were Madame Adelaide, Madame Victoire and Madame Sophie; known collectively as Mesdames Tantes – my lady aunts. “Mesdames Tantes were … Continue reading Mesdames Tantes

Louis XV

Louis XV was king of France from 1715 to 1774. He was nicknamed ‘the Well-Beloved’. Louis was born at Versailles on 15 February 1710. Because he had two older brothers (though only one survived to adulthood) and both his father and grandfather were still alive, nobody ever thought Louis would become king. A scourge of disease Louis’ grandfather caught smallpox and died in 1711 when … Continue reading Louis XV

Louis XVI

Louis XVI was born Aug. 23, 1754 in Versailles, France. He was the second eldest surviving son of his parents, Louis, Dauphin of France and Marie-Josèphe of Saxony. He was the last king of France before the French Revolution of 1789. He was well loved by his people at first, but was not built to be a great leader. He was known as a shy, reserved young man who was happier in … Continue reading Louis XVI

Madame du Barry vs Marie Antoinette

Madame du Barry had quite an amazing life. She is best known as the mistress to King Louis XV of France and as the enemy of Marie Antoinette. Because of her very humble beginnings, she had a hard time fitting in with the noblemen and women of the court. But whatever you might think of her, there is no doubt that she worked hard to … Continue reading Madame du Barry vs Marie Antoinette

May I Sit Here?

Probably not. Of all the strange rules and etiquette one had to follow at the Palace of Versailles, the rules about who got to sit where (and when) are perhaps the most bizarre. It was a well known rule that you were not allowed to sit in the presence of the king and queen unless you were a visiting monarch. Everybody else had to conform … Continue reading May I Sit Here?

Hair and make up

French Court Hair and Makeup

The fashion for courtiers in France during the years leading up to the Revolution was excess – the more the better. Higher hair, redder lips and whiter skin could all be achieved through hair and makeup artistry. Let’s have a closer look at how beauty was defined in the 18th century. Makeup Every courtier wore makeup in the 18th century in France. In fact, you … Continue reading French Court Hair and Makeup