1746 map & Martin, View of Versailles

From 1682, when Louis XIV relocated the seat of the monarchy to Versailles, through will, to 1789, when Parisians relocated the royal family to the capital, through force, distinctions and connections between court and town played a large role in the public culture and petite histoire of the Ancien Régime. The twelve miles of road that linked the palace and the city carried a great deal of traffic in both directions, on foot and horse, in public vehicles and private carriages. Some courtiers prowled Parisian gardens on both banks of the Seine, and more workingmen sold their services in the spacious gardens of the largest royal residence in Europe. One lackey preferred Versailles to the Luxembourg, where “one cannot amuse oneself without being seen from all sides” (AB 10258, f. 140v), and another declared that “one had nothing to fear” in the palace gardens. “One even amused oneself publicly” there (AB 11101, f. 214v).

The sexual history of Versailles and Paris combined remains to be written, not as a collection of factual and fictional anecdotes extracted from memoirs and journals, nouvelles and libelles, but as a system of marketplace and patronage relations explored in the archives. The database will allow us to locate all the relevant references and connect court and town systematically rather than anecdotally.

Working list of references


Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Archives de la Bastille
1025423 Jun 23Duplessis, native
6 Jul 23Fortevoix, native
23 Jul 23Duforny walked from there.
31 Oct 23Dufour, native
10256200vDe Brie and others did “terrible things” there.
102573Bergeron, native
37boy from there
67Fautray, native
147Man of rank took Tailly there.
329vPoisson reported as much sex as you want there.
10258140vGuy had sex there.
229vVaillant arrived from there.
245Robert had sex there.
249vBaptiste had sex there.
250François knew many infâmes there.
282vBourgouin was going there.
517vMaurizot and other young folks went there to amuse themselves.
50Picard had sex there.
71Bequet had sex there.
137Dufourny had sex there.
10260124vLajeunesse had sex there.
400Barré had sex there.
10741125Lebel, concierge of the palace, infâme
237Bellebat resides there some times.
1075940Paris took a clerk there to prostitute him.
10770107Carel, native
10795120Rougemont went there.
107962Saget often there
1082173vLegrand there
1083760Laplanche and page there
1086148vVibert had sex with prince de Conti there.
10871213de la Carte often there with Lebel
10911183Dubois, native
1094038vHuvé and 4 young folks there
10973249vThe duc de Richelieu invited Lahoussay there.
1104939vFaure and Châteauneuf went there.
11101214vKssler had sex there.
218vKssler had a good time there.
11706223Dupré there
Archives Nationales, series Y
1340810 Feb 1781Moreau, native
9 Mar 1781Villeneuve, native
28 Jun 1781Crosnier, native
19 Jul 1781Courtois procured himself there.
21 Aug 1781Lacarpe, resident
8 Nov 1781River cruised Paris for men to take there.
134098 Nov 1782Soenieu recruited men in Paris to take there.

Author: Jeffrey Merrick