EP 87: Paris History Avec A Hemingway (Madame de Pompadour)
Jeanne Antoinette Poisson was destined to be the mistress of the king. As a child, her mother took her to a fortune-teller who told the young girl that she would one day hold the heart of the king. From then on she was called Reinette, little queen.
Her mother set out from that moment to raise her to be a mistress and hired the best teachers to educate her in art, dancing, and the theater. In 1740 at the age of 19, she was married to Charles Guillaume, nephew of her guardian Tourneheim with one clause. They would be happily married and she would never leave him unless the king came calling.
Poisson and her husband lived in the Chateau d’Etoiles where she would hold lavish Salons with Voltaire, Fontenelle, and Montesquieu in attendance. Her name began spreading all the way to court. Poisson heard that Louis XV hunted in the woods near their home and one day she dressed in a blue dress and took off in her pink carriage cutting right into his path. She did it again days later, this time in a pink dress and a blue carriage.
She got the king's attention and in turn, he sent her venison as a gift, what a way to woo a girl. On February 24, 1745, she was invited to court to attend a masked ball. Dressed as Diane the huntress she floated through the ball and right into his arms. Three days later at the Hotel de Ville he publicly declared his love for her.
As a commoner, it was frowned upon at court but easily fixed when Louis XV bought her the title, chateau, and the crest of the Marquise de Pompadour. Pompadour would become his most trusted advisor, even after their physical affair ended.
While the mistresses of the kings were many, Pompadour should be remembered for her contribution to the arts through supporting artists and her own skills. From gemstone engraving to create books with her own printing press and the first royal porcelain factory in France.
More info and photos: https://www.claudinehemingway.com/paris-history-avec-a-hemingway-podcast-1
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