• Jules Hardouin-Mansart, premier architecte du roi

    Born on 16 April 1646 in Paris, Jules Hardouin-Mansart rose to be one of the most famous French architects, whose style was often copied and can still be found in many places all over the world.   Hardouin-Mansart was a great-nephew of the today slightly less famous Nicolas-François Mansart, who had been named architecte du roi in 1625 and was…

  • Chronologie de la vie de Louis XIV, February 1662

    1 February, the King enjoys the hunt in the area around the village of Saint-Denis. 2 February, Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, as it is tradition, their Majesties, Monseigneur and Monsieur are presented with a ceremonial candle by the rector of the university. Then  their Majesties attend the procession which takes place by the Louvre, after which, in…

  • Dangeau’s Diary, March 1688

    2d. — Intelligence from Rome has arrived stating that the Pope was extremely vexed and mortified at the decree of the parliament, and the speech of Monsieur Talon, that at first he was inclined to proceed to excommunications, but that afterwards he determined to listen to the Cardinals, whom he consulted two by two. The life of Mademoiselle de Guise…

  • 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…

  • Anne d’Autriche

    Ana María Mauricia de Austria y Austria-Estiria or short Anne d’Autriche was born on 22 September 1601 as oldest daughter of Philip III of Spain and his second cousin and wife Margaret of Austria.   Anne received her first name in honour of her grandmother Anne of Austria, fourth wife of Philip II, her second name María in honour of…

  • Dangeau’s Diary, February 1688

    8th. — After supper, Monsieur de Luxembourg introduced at the Princesse de Conti’s, three Italian comedians, some of the best dancers, and Mademoiselle de la Lande, Monseigneur and Madame la Duchesse, were present. The spectacle was very diverting. Monsieur de Luxembourg had caused four guards, belonging to Noailles’ company, as tall as giants, to be disguised in girl’s clothes. Some…

  • Chronologie de la vie de Louis XIV, January 1662

    1 January, his Majesty returns to the grand couvent des Augustins, where the festivities which started the previous day continue, and participates in mass and Communion celebrated by the Archbishop of Lyon. After mass, his Majesty goes to meet the ill to heal them with his touch. Le Roy te touche et Dieu te guerit. His Majesty again returns to…

  • Jeanne-Baptiste d’Albert de Luynes, Comtesse de Verrue

    Born on 18 January in 1670 at the Hôtel de Luynes in Paris, Jeanne-Baptiste was a daughter of Louis-Charles d’Albert, Duc de Luynes, and his second wife Anne de Rohan, a daughter of the famous Madame de Chevreuse.   Jeanne, who was named after her godfather Jean-Baptiste Colbert, spent most of her early years at Port-Royal, where she was educated.…

  • Henri IV, Roi de France et de Navarre

    Henri IV aka Henri Quatre aka Henri de Navarre aka le Bon Roi Henri, the grandfather of Louis XIV, was the first Bourbon King of France. Before the crown was placed on Henri’s head, France was ruled by the Valois for many generations, but they ran out of male heirs…   This future King of France was born on the night…

  • 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…

  • Dangeau’s Diary, January 1688

    8th. — The Pope has ordered, that in all the churches throughout Rome, service should be stopped the moment Monsieur de Lavardin, our ambassador, should enter them. Thus treating him as an excommunicated person. The feast of Saint Luce has not been celebrated, as was customary every year, on the 13th of December at Saint Jean de Latran, in remembrance…

  • Chronologie de la vie de Louis XIV, December 1661

    1 December, his Majesty and Monsieur set out from Fontainebleau to Paris to visit the Queen of England at the Palais-Royal. 1 December, Monsieur Fouquet, his health having improved, is moved with his valet and hid doctor Monsieur Pelisson to the château d’Amboise. 2 December, the King returns to Fontainebleau. 3 December, his Majesty discusses the nominations for the Chevaliers…

  • Adieu 2018…..

    This has become a bit of a tradition, hasn’t it? I don’t know about you, but many say 2017 was quite a strange year. 2018 tops it for me by far and I’m not even thinking of all the political madness of this year when I say that. So, brace yourself, this will be quite personal. But let’s start with…

  • 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…

  • Élisabeth-Charlotte d’Orléans, Duchesse de Lorraine

    Born on 13 September in 1676 at Saint-Cloud, Élisabeth-Charlotte was the third and last child born to Philippe de France and his second wife Liselotte von der Pfalz. She was the granddaughter of a King, niece of a King, mother of an Emperor and grandmother of France’s most famous Queen, Marie-Antoinette. After five years of marriage and two sons, Monsieur was…

  • Dangeau’s Diary, December 1687

    1st. — Marly. The King remarked, that so many persons had desired to accompany him to Marly, that if the chateau had been as large as that of Fontainebleau, they could not all be accommodated. He said to Monsieur de Metz, whom he esteems very much: “Others desire me to bring them with me to Marly, and I desire you…

  • Marguerite-Louise d’Orléans, Grande-Duchesse de Toscane

    Born on 28 July in 1645 at the château de Blois, Marguerite-Louise was the first child and daughter of Gaston de France and his second wife Marguerite de Lorraine and thus a first-cousin to Louis XIV.   Gaston de France was the brother of Louis XIII and married Marguerite de Lorraine in secret and against the will of his kingly brother, which led to…

  • Chronologie de la vie de Louis XIV, November 1661

    1 November, All Saints’ Day, excitement rules Fontainebleau, for her Majesty is about to give birth. His Majesty is by her side. 1 November, it is a boy! Her Majesty gave birth to a Dauphin at eleven fifty-three in the morning! His Majesty is beside himself with joy and rushed to the windows to announce “La reine est accouchée d’un…

  • Anne-Geneviève de Bourbon, Duchesse de Longueville

    On 28 August in 1619, a girl was born in the dark prison of the château de Vincennes, which was sixty years later inhabited by poisoners awaiting their death sentences after plenty of torture.   That girl was Anne-Geneviève de Bourbon, the first child and only daughter of Henri de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, and his wife Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency. Her parents…

  • L’escalier des Ambassadeurs

    L’escalier des Ambassadeurs, also called Grand escalier de Versailles, was one of the château’s main attractions and of great political importance. This monumental staircase was the place, where ambassadors from all around the world were waiting to be received by Louis XIV and to present him their credentials. As Louis XIV took into mind to made Versailles the very centre of France,…