Tuesday, January 28, 2014

a bachelor in the Elysèe Palace

Francois Hollande officially declared he'll 'stay' a bachelor for the rest of his term as French president.
In the ongoing saga of amour he has broken off with his First girlfriend, Valerie Trierweiller, nicknamed 'Rotweiler' by the French press for the actress, his  mistress Julie Gayet who he visited by motorscooter in a flat around the corner from the Elysèe Palace.

 - Hollande had four children with Segolène Royal - they never married - and he supported her campaign for president.
 A recent article in Paris suggested Hollande, who dropped to a new low in the polls because of high French unemployment, gained some traction with middle-aged, pudgy, glasses wearing French men who own scooters. They claimed Hollande gave hope of amour to a segment, not inconsiderable, in the male population.
During the Ancien Régime, mistresses, most famously Madame de Pompadour, lover of Louis XV, were routinely ennobled and held a high official rank—Maîtresse—and often wielded great sway over affairs of state. Madame de Pompadour not only reigned over patronage of the arts in the Rococo age but also influenced the choice of ministers and the strategy of the Seven Years' War. A woman of considerable acumen, Pompadour created the infamous Parc aux Cerfs, an exclusive royal bordello in the town of Versailles, to satiate the king's voracious appetites and secure her position once her own charms had waned.
After her death, Madame du Barry, a young lady of the Parc, ascended to la Pompadour's position but never her station
But the quintessential concubine was Madame de Montespan, l'Athenée—well-born, clever, scheming, haughty and ambitious—who had bewitched Louis XIV in his early middle age. The king sired four illegitimate children with her, all later ennobled, one of whom was later exiled as an insurrectionist. While in royal favor, "La Montespan" reigned as de facto queen, with a suite of rooms at Versailles that eclipsed those of the actual queen, the homely and devout Infanta, Maria Theresa.

Madame de Montespan found herself eclipsed by 
 Madame de Maintenon, a late and pivotal mistress of Louis XIV, who controlled state affairs by forcing all ministers and petitioners to pass through the gauntlet of her apartements at Versailles if they hoped to gain access to the king. She was known at court as "Madame de Maintenant" (Madame Now), and had doubtless married the king privately, though this was never officially acknowledged. Some history books call her the Morganic Queen.
Like just about everything else during the Ancien Régime, the changing of the guard was also handled with aplomb. It was said that Madame de Montespan, on her way out, and Madame de Maintenon, on her way in, first met on a staircase in Versailles. Madame de Maintenon was ascending and Madame de Montespan descending. The former remarked, "I see that you are going down, Madame, while I am going up."
We don't know if that's been the case with Valerie and Julie.

Cara - Tuesday


  1. Cara, I can't help but recall how my French friends made fun of the American public during the attempted impeachment of Clinton over the Lewinski brouhaha. Most of them--all leftists--have been together for a long time and had children without benefit of clergy of city hall. Why is this such a big deal?

  2. I guess all this explains why my students prefer watching Sponge Bob.

    Congratulations on your and Lisa's nominations for the 2014 Left Coast Crime Calamari Award...for best mystery in a foreign setting. That makes three of the five nominees Murder is Everywhere blogmates (I'm # 3) and to top it all off, you're the US Guest of Honor! MIE rules :).

  3. Every culture has its points, good and bad, but I must definitely hand the "winner's cup" to the French when it comes to attitudes about sex and personal relationships compared to the puritanical positions taken by those in U.S.