Posts Tagged ‘Carnival’

Madame de Pompadour by Boucher 1759

Carnival at Versailles, and the appearance of the Marquise de Pompadour

Carnival celebrations were not limited to Paris, of course. The Court at Versailles also indulged in costume balls. One such masquerade was given in the Hall of Mirrors during the night of the 25th and 26th of February 1745. Two days earlier, the sixteen-year old Dauphin Louis-Ferdinand, son of Louis XV (and future father of […]



Madame Victoire Roslin

Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and Lent

Yes, Tuesday was Mardi Gras, yesterday was Ash Wednesday and we have now entered the season of Lent. An opportunity to look back at last year’s posts on these topics: – The boisterous celebration of Carnival in Paris, – The hardly more decorous happenings in Versailles, where, under Louis XV, the Ball of the Yew […]



Ash Wednesday Carl Spitzweg

Ash Wednesday, Mercredi des Cendres

Ash Wednesday follows Fat Tuesday, and the mood could not be more different. Today, a day of fast and prayer, marks the beginning of Lent. The day of ashes on foreheads, and the admonition Memento, homo, quod pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris (“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”) No […]



Versailles Hall of Mirrors Ball of the Yew Trees

A breach of étiquette at Versailles

Versailles étiquette may sound daunting, but it fell by the wayside on special occasions. Such was the case during a masquerade in the Hall of Mirrors on the 25th and 26th of February 1745. It was given in honor of the Mardi-Gras period that precedes the Lent fast, and in celebration of the marriage, two […]



Carnival in Paris, Marie-Antoinette and the French Revolution

Today is Mardi-Gras, Fat Tuesday, the last day before Lent. Before the French Revolution it was the occasion for bawdy, sometimes lewd masquerades. Raucous parades filed through the streets of Paris, like the promenade du bœuf gras (“fat ox parade.”) A young boy, called “King of the Butchers” with a gilt crown, sword and scepter, […]