Titillating Tidbits

Funny, sad and scandalous stories from the court of Louis XIV.

  • The death of Louis XIII

    Louis XIII’s reign as King of France lasted exactly 33 years. His Kingship was not an easy one. He lost his father, Henri IV, early and was in constant disagreement with his mother, Marie de Médicis, about what was the best for France and she even went to a proper war with him at one point. Louis le Juste had…

  • Louis XIV and the measles

    The measles are a very serious contagious infectious disease caused by a virus. It takes 10 to 12 days after exposure for the symptoms to show and then 7 to 10 days for the whole thing to vanish…. if one survives it. La rougeole, as the French call it, was a killer in the 17th century and it still is…

  • The wedding of Marie-Louise d’Orléans and much ado about etiquette…

    The highlight of the year 1679 at court was the marriage by proxy of Mademoiselle and the King of Spain. Mademoiselle was the oldest daughter of Louis XIV’s brother Philippe and his first wife, Henriette d’Angleterre. Since none of the Sun King’s legitimate daughters reached adulthood, this was his first chance to marry a close relative to another King. But…

  • Living at Versailles…. a hungry court

    If you think of Versailles, you will think of tables full of the most delicious things. Glorious roasts, spectacular centrepieces, fabulous cakes and sugary glory. This applied to the tables of the royal family, not so much to the general courtier. Getting something to eat at Versailles was a proper hassle for them and many, especially those with little means,…

  • Living at Versailles…

    To live like a King or Queen… or even better, to live like a King or Queen at Versailles. A golden palace of dreams, where everything seems possible. Doesn’t that sound great? In reality, we have more comforts in our flats and houses of various sizes than the Sun King had in Versailles and he would envy us for it.…

  • Duels, the forbidden fights for honour

    If you watch a history movie or series set in 17th century France, like the old Musketeer movies, there is always at some point a scene that involves duelling. Usually with many theatrics, glove throwing, glove slapping, and brave challenging of stronger opponents…. but wasn’t duelling actually forbidden? Is the movie duelling a dramatic addition?   Not really. Duelling was…

  • La journée des Dupes

    The journée des Dupes aka Day of the Dupes is an important event in French History. Actually it was not just one day, but stretched out over several days and it was the first major event to, partially, take place at the château de Versailles.   Things were tense between Louis XIII and his mother Marie de Médicis in early…

  • L’ordre du Saint-Esprit

    The Ordre du Saint-Esprit – Order of the Holy Spirit – was the senior chivalric order of France. It was not the oldest one, but the most prestigious one and founded by Henri III in 1578.   Before the Ordre du Saint-Esprit was created, the senior order of chivalry in France was the Ordre de Saint-Michel, which dates back to…

  • La tête d’Henri IV… or the head of Henri IV

    Henri IV did not have a easy time. As King of Navarre, he was constantly warring. As heir to the French throne, many were against him and wanted to prevent him from taking the throne. As then King of France, things were not easier for him. Then he got assassinated and mysteriously lost his head almost 200 years later. How…

  • L’affaire de la garde corse

    In August 1662, a little over a year after the death of Cardinal de Mazarin and Louis XIV taking things into his own hands, there was a bit of an incident between France and the Vatican which temporarily halted all diplomatic relations… and even after that, things would never be the same.   Charles de Blanchefort-Créquy served Louis XIV splendidly…

  • Jeu de paume

    You probably heard the expression that Tennis is the sport of Kings and that is quite true. The predecessor of what we call Tennis in English today is the French jeu de paume and the French Kings were indeed crazy about it.   The game is way older than one might think too. It dates back to the 12th century…

  • La Maison de la Reine

    Louis XIV’s court, and the French court in general, had a lot of court offices for male beings… and not so many for females. The Queen’s of France did not get their own Households until the 12th century and compared to how many people had offices in the Maison du Roi, the King’s Household, the Maison de la Reine was…

  • La Fontange

    There were quite a few popular hairstyles at the court of the Sun King. In his youth it was all about curls and ringlets for the ladies, but later on, there was one particular hairstyle that dominated Louis XIV’s court and swept all over the world.   Legend has it that this hairstyle is the result of a hunting accident.…

  • The baptism of Louis XIV

    Louis XIV received a so-called ondoiement shortly after his birth. An emergency baptism, something administered to a person in danger of death, or small children after their birth to make sure, if they should pass away before their actual baptism, the gates of heaven would welcome them. Louis actual baptism took place in 1643. It was the first chance to shine…

  • Ten rules of etiquette for your Versailles visit….

    What could be worse than strolling Versailles and running into a noble, or even worse, the King himself and not knowing what to do? It might lead to one being forcefully removed from court and ridiculed for years to come… so, here are some rules of etiquette one should be aware of to be saved from eternal embarrassment. -If you…

  • Les Filles du Roi

    Nouvelle-France or New France, the area colonised by France in North America, was a place for adventures and in first mainly occupied by gentlemen, who weren’t always really gentlemen-like. New France was a place of fur-trade and full with trappers, soldiers, traders, priests and ruffians. It did not really sound like a desirable place to live or settle at for…

  • A 17th century Christmas….

    Christmas, as we know it now with all its tinsel and presents, did not always involve presents… and for the court of Louis XIV it was a rather dull affair mostly. Christmas meant a mass marathon for the King and his family. The great Sun King was usually present at around four different masses on Christmas Eve alone and there…

  • Marie Bosse, palm-reader and poisoner

    After the arrest of Madame de Brinvilliers, who had conspired with her lover to murder half her family in order to inherit wealth and property, the people of Paris and Louis XIV’s court were not just truly shocked by it all, the arrest also made them remember quite the number of strange and mysterious deaths and talk of powders and…

  • The War of the Reunions, 1683-1684

    The War of the Reunions was a short conflict in a larger conflict between France, the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. Some historians claim it was Louis XIV’s most successful war.   The whole thing already started in the 1670s. In several peace treaties, that of Westphalia, Aix-la-Chapelle and Nijmegen, France gained several…

  • Was Louis XIV illegitimate?

    Versailles season 3 plays with the idea that Louis XIV, the great Sun King, was not legitimate. This idea is not new at all and pretty much as old as Louis XIV. If a child is legitimate, it means it is born to two people bound in marriage and those two people are the natural parents of the child. If…

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