This is the second post of a new series to ‘things i’m loving…’ called The Exquisite, where I profile entries from the book “Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights” by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins.
Text from “Encyclopedia of the Exquisite” by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins
Lying in her bed, Catherine de Vivonne, Marquise de Rambouillet, oversaw France’s first true salon, then called a ruelle, the name for the little alleyway between the bed and the wall where a lady’s friends sat to chat with her while she lounged. The horizontal marquise, raised in genteel Italy, retired early from Henri IV’s licentious Parisian court, claiming ill health, and established instead a weekly rendezvous of the city’s brightest lights – Madame de Sevigne, Guez de Balzac, Richelieu, La Rochefoucault – in her boudoir, the famed chambre bleu. There, she reigned for over forty years, surrounded by admirers, hundreds of lit candles, and baskets of fresh-cut flowers. The scene that was, as one habitue noted, “less crowded and more refined than at the Louvre.”
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