Louis XIV as a Trendsetter

His Majesty had a perfect artistic taste not only in building and dancing. Fashion, among other things, was in his power and I’d say that he was the absolute trendsetter in it. Generally speaking, the 17th century, due to plenty of dynamic events, brought a constant evolution in dressing. Fashion changed promptly, so you had to be very attentive & well-informed not to miss any detail. And it was a very difficult task, as the rich imagination of Louis XIV invented trends faster than the clothes themselves were made.

If we examine the French 17th century costume, we will definitely notice that under Louis XIII it was more or less static, without any particular changes. It had a strong Spanish influence, coming from the previous century & reminding of the faded power of Spain. The Thirty Years’ War impeded the costume evolution, besides France was weak yet to set its will in this field.

However, after Louis XIV held the power, the situation changed. Being young, vigorous & creative, His Majesty managed to become the most powerful trendsetter rather fast and kept this status during his reign. He made some practical reforms which allowed to run fabric, lace & plaiting manufacturing in France. Besides obvious advantages, this policy lowered down depending on foreign textiles & opened the way for a fashion creativity.

Louis XIV wore clothes made from French fabrics & decorated with French laces, etc. So, the Court followed his examples. Moreover, decorative elements like laces, braid, feathers were considered prestigious ones & were often given as payments. For example, brave warriors often received laces as victory awards.

The key costume details were fabrics & decorative elements, as our ancestors were rather wise to use the same patterns for quite a long period of time. The 17th century people madehigh quality clothes & shoes aiming to use them for long years ahead. Unlike our time, squandering was unpopular, besides you risked to be imprisoned if you made low-quality goods.

No matter its richness, the costume was very functional, easy to be kept, moved & washed. Sleeves, chemise laces could be easily undone & replaced, while shoes with high heels were extremely comfortable for riding. I guess people even felt different dressed in these gorgeous costumes, as each of them was a unique masterpiece of the sewing art.

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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Louis XIV Asks Riddles I

Esteemed Readers,

here is a new pretty riddle for your pleasure & entertainment. I hope you will enjoy it:

I’m, as many say, a wonder of the world. You can see thousand beauties & hundreds precious treasures on my vast body as well as any sort of good & bad in abundance.  My chest is a shelter for the big & the small. My name is famous all over the world. And all together I bear a name of a Merchant, a Prince & a Judge, What am I?

REPLY to the Riddle posted on December 4, 2018: HAIR

My congratulations to Belén! Your new hairstyle helped you! 🙂

Vive le Roy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

Posted in culture, France, History, Louis XIV, Riddles, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

At the Court: Une Journée de Louis XIV

Esteemed Readers,

to comprehend better the Court life, I offer you a schedule of Louis XIV’s ordinary day. And here I should notice that His Majesty had an extraordinary patience to follow it during all his 54 years of reigning.

8:00 Petit Lever (First getting up) – the First Valet wakes the King up, the First Surgeon & doctors examine him, then members of the Royal family & Princes enter the Appartements. They are followed by Officers of the Crown, the Chambellan & the Grand Maitre of wardrobe. The King washes his hands with some wine or essential antibacterial oil, has some Holy Water, puts his morning outfits. The Grand Barbier shaves him.

8:30 Grand Level (Second getting up) – The King prepares himself, gets dressed assisted by Princes du sang, accepts only very close people from his milieu. This is a very privileged time. Every courtiers dreamed to get a chance to be among invited ones.

9:00 First breakfast – some herbal tea or a vegetable soup.

9:30 The Minister Council – general daily instructions & affairs. Then the King changes for the Mass.

10:00 -11:00 – The Mass accompanied with Lully’s music.

11:00 – 13:00 – The Royal Council of Louis XIV: Monday-Friday the Highest Council (State affairs) or the Depeche Council; then if Tuesday, Saturday – the Financial Council, then if Friday – the Religious Council; Audiences.

13:00 – Petit Couvert – a personal luncheon, often accompanied by his brother Monsieur only. Then bath, changing for going out.

14:00 – hunting or promenade in the gardens if the weather is fine. If not, a visit to the Court ladies, trips to Trianon or Marly.

16:00-17:00 Petit Collation – a snack in ladies’ company. Bath changing for the Mass.

17:00-18:00 – The Mass accompanied with Lully’s music.

18:00-19:00 – Work with documents.

19:00 – The King returns to his Appartements. It’s time for some fun (billiard, card games, dancing).

about 22:00 – Grand Couvert – a big supper for all, a ball, etc. After the meal His Majesty goes to his cabinet to talk with closest members of the family or friends.

23:30 Coucher (bedtime) – according to the accepted rules at the Court.

So, as you might notice, Esteemed Readers, Courtiers were very limited in attracting the Royal attention & were very restricted to keep it. Amazingly, Louis’s system was so effective that even most rebellious spirits were calmed down. It does not mean that there were no intrigues at the Court. They were, for sure. However, they were too far from the policy, as His Majesty kept his own courtiers away of his political affairs.

The etiquette rules accepted at Louis XIV’s Court were were rigid as well & most people simply had no time to think about plots if they desired to become good Royal servants. They mind were always occupied with fashion, latest artistic trends, poetry, etc. But when it was the war-time, each courtier knew to be a great worrier & fulfilled his oath to serve his King until the end whatever it was.

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

Posted in culture, education, France, History, Lifestyle, Louis XIV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

At the Court

The great king must have the great Court…And Louis had the one. Even more! He has made the one! Unlike other European monarchies, France did not have this institution before Louis XIV. This is a great paradox of the French history. There were centuries of the Universal Monarchy, deep Royal traditions, but those of courtiers were lack of.

It has to do with the fact that courtiers of the past were always very independent. Indeed, they served to their Sovereign, kept their oath in wars, etc, but at the same time they prefered to be rulers in their own lands. Most of great noble French families were famous with their rebellious spirit & were involved in numerous scandals & political intrigues against their own king. The position of the Monarch in France was very unstable from the period of Charlemagne’s death to Louis XIII’s reign! There were short periods when the ruler’s personality put the Court together and made it organized but with his death this institution plunged into the chaos again.

François I was famous with his travelling. He moved very actively around France, so the Court did not even have any permanent palace to settle down. Henri IV was a great man & warrior, as I have already mentioned, but he was too mild with his courtiers, making friends with everyone. No wonder that this model of behaviour ended with his assassination right in the Court of the Louvre! Only Cardinal de Richelieu, who realized the importance of the centralization of power and the menace of a chaotic Court, began to establish rules & orders for courtiers. Of course, nobles were insulted with this policy & considered the Great Cardinal the enemy number 1. They had no wished to obey.

When Louis XIV ascended the throne in 1661 the Court, taught the lesson of the Fronde, was yet too liberated and demanded to be well-arranged. His Majesty did the great job in this direction and in 1684, when the Court officially settled down in Versailles, he enjoyed his brilliant results. Finally, to stay at the Court did not mean to hatch a plot but to serve the King & every noble desired it so much.

Unlike a mainstream impression or opinions of many Revolutionists & modern historians, serving Louis XIV was a difficult thing to do. First of all, His Majesty appreciated educated, honest, courageous people with a good sense of humour. Liars, pretenders, intriguers had no chance to become members of the Royal milieu. They could visit the Court though, but as a rule without  any hope to get a position near the king. Secondly, Louis XIV did not make anyone live at the Court constantly. If a noble was invited to the Court, he had to spend there about 3 months a year. Besides, the true number of courtiers received at the Court is extremely exaggerated by almost all the historical statistics. In fact, they might have been about few hundreds, not thousands as they like to say.

To stay at the Court meant staying at your own expenses. Most even very noble courtiers lhad no room of their own in Versailles and never got one. The food & some necessary things as woods, water, etc. were mostly at the King’s account, but not always. So, as you see, Esteemed Readers, Louis XIV had no idea about  all inclusive system. Not all of those who stayed at the Court participated in all feasts & other important Royal events. Invitation was always personal & Louis saw to that.  Royal privileges were very limited & well arranged and to get at least one of them you had really to work hard.

Strictness & a personal genious of Louis XIV made the Court in France & turned it into the most splendid one in Europe, but after his death this institution decayed very fast and never managed to repeat the glory of its solar days.

Vive le Roy!

Maria KethuProfumo

Posted in culture, France, History, Louis XIV, Society, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

New Year Mood: Gaelic Song

Esteemed Readers,

it would be sad to bid farewell to 2018 without a pleasant music impromptu. This is a brilliant Scottish composition performed by Fiona Mackenzie in Gaelic… I guess it would add some spirit to our Louis XIV’s celebrations 🙂 The song is called Mary’s Joy.


Maria KethuProfumo

Posted in Art, Christmas, culture, folklore, Gaelic, God, Music, Natale, New Year, religion, Scotland, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Mercure Galant: Messenger of the Past – Praying For Louis XIV

Studying the archives I have discovered that 17th century prayers, odes, madrigals etc. contain a great deal of interesting information. Besides they reflect the true mood of people of that time, so I would like to share it with you, my Esteemed Readers. The given text is written by l’Abbé de la Chaise & dedicated to His Majesty’s illness happened in 1686.

“God, remember that France, beholding her Sovereign as a miracle made with Your hand, was blessed with his Birth. Remember numerous supplications that so many zeal People send You for Him to get Your grace and to keep their so Great King for themselves! Thus, by means of this kind melody they breath out, they join the gift received from You.

You’ve protected him in War for the best of his Subjects, so protect him in Peace for the best of the Whole World! Might his mercy finally be liberated from the evil name of Calvin, as LOUIS has done so much to add to Your Glory by cleaning the Universe from this Monster of Delusion.

Might a constant happiness bless him, might he stay under Your protection & fill with Your benediction the House of this great Monarch. Might le Dauphine & his Children and other of his triumphing kin be led with Your Sacred hand and might his Realm before their own lasted as the Golden Age as it has already done.”

Vive le Roy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo


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Mercure Galant: Messenger of the Past – January Divertissements 1680

Esteemed Readers,

here is another note from the Mercure Galant telling about January feast, taken on occasion of an ordinary Carnival before the Lenten period. The Opera is as always the most preferable pleasure:

“…It’s time to tell you about entertainments of this season. You know that all the pleasures are connected with it. I start from the Court’s ones. I’d mention that l’Opéra de Bellèrophon is the most important of this month. His Majesty enjoyed it so much and found it so wonderful that it was repeated twice during each Performance. And the whole Paris agreed that it was rare & indeed difficult to perform. I would like to speak little about the Plot made as a Tragedy, which joins all the lines coming from its core and it does not engage any extra events, except the Marriage Scene & Faunes, created against Author’s will and needed only to set Poetry to Music. Performances of this Opera ended last Friday to be exchanged with those of l’Opéra de Proserpine that will be staged February 5 for the first time. Mr. (Messire) Quinault surpassed himself and alike his Verses have all the delicacy necessary for singing, one needs incredible patience to comprehend them. Both ears & eyes must be fully fully satisfied with this Opéra because so rich stage scenery & costumes have not been seen in France yet…”

Happy Holiday Time! Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

Posted in Art, ballet, Beauty, culture, France, God, Louis XIV, Music, Natale, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments