Posts Tagged ‘Gabrielle de Montserrat’

Demolition of the Bastille by Hubert Robert

The Bastille: in the shadow of a fortress

Truth be told, I miss the Bastille. The current column that stands where the old fortress towered above passersby seems very bland by comparison. What a building the old Bastille must have been! But 18th century Parisians had a grimmer take than I on the fortress. It was used as a weapon and ammunition depot […]



Tuileries during the French Revolution

The 10th of August 1792: fall of the French monarchy

The 10th of August 1792 is one of the key dates of the French Revolution. Why was the populace of Paris so enraged at the King and Queen? The war on Austria had been declared a few months earlier, and had turned into a military disaster for France. The Austrians and their Prussian allies were […]



Watteau Pleasures of the Ball

The sweetness of living

More than twenty years after the fact, the heroine of Mistress of the Revolution, Gabrielle de Montserrat, reminisces about the lifestyle she, and  other nobles, enjoyed during the years that immediately preceded the French Revolution. She is penniless, but has been befriended and welcomed in Paris by an elderly relation, the Duchess d’Arpajon. The Duchess […]



Versailles General view

Discovering Versailles in the 18th century

We saw the heroine of Mistress of the Revolution, Gabrielle de Montserrat, readying herself for her first visit to Versailles. Especially for a young woman who was going to be presented to the Queen, it was a momentous experience. Let us listen to Gabrielle: The Duchess and I left early on a fine Sunday morning […]



18th century Paris banks of the Seine

Discovering Paris in the 18th century

The year is 1787. In my first novel, Mistress of the Revolution, young provincial Gabrielle de Montserrat arrives in Paris, under the protection of her friend the Chevalier  des Huttes. Let us discover the city with her. Parisians are fond of calling provincials culs-terreux, which literally translates as “dirty asses”, but what struck me in […]



18th century French court dress 1778

Dressing for Court, and preparing to glide…

So far in this series we have followed the heroine of Mistress of the Revolution, Gabrielle de Montserrat, to Versailles on several occasions. How was she dressed then? Well, a lady was supposed to look like the fashion plate. The legend translates as “Young lady of quality in great dress, wearing an elegant bonnet or […]



Boilly Peasants

Cottage life in 18th century France

Many thanks to Dani, of A work in Progress, for giving me the idea of this post on the early years of Gabrielle, the heroine of Mistress of the Revolution, with her wet nurse, Mamé Laborde. My heroine spent the first years of her life in a cottage similar to the one depicted above by Boilly. […]



Chateau of Anjony Auvergne

From the Convent to the ancestral Chateau…

Gabrielle de Montserrat, the heroine of my first novel, Mistress of the Revolution, is eleven years old. She has been raised first by her wet nurse, then by the nuns of the Benedictine Convent of Vic, in Auvergne. Her father has died, and she does not remember anything of her mother. Then one fine day, […]



Versailles Queen s Bedchamber

Queen Marie-Antoinette’s Bedchamber at Versailles

The prior post in this series had the heroine of Mistress of the Revolution, Gabrielle de Montserrat, presented to Marie-Antoinette. Gabrielle is now part of the Court, though she has not been offered any official position there (yet.) As a presented lady, Gabrielle is admitted to the Queen’s Bedchamber. This room, like the Salon of […]



Versailles Salon of the Nobles

The presentation to Queen Marie-Antoinette at Versailles

The heroine of Mistress of the Revolution, Gabrielle de Montserrat, has arrived in Paris as a teenage widow. The next step is her “presentation” at Court. What were the requirements to be presented at Court? You had to (1) prove that your family had been noble since at least the year 1400, and (2) find […]