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 What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read? 
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Royalty
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Post What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
What is/was the strangest rumor that you have read or heard from someone about Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, or the royal family? I was/am reading a book via google books called the Life and Letters of Madame Elisabeth de France. I quote from the book:

"For instance, it is recorded by her biographers that as her head fell into the basket a perfume of roses was wafted over the Place Louis XV."

I kid you not.

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Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:06 am
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
I have heard that they liked to entertain and have wild parties in the gardens.


Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:45 am
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
What you could hear about garden parties are mostly true. The only problem is, hypocritical (and prude) revolutionary propaganda turned this fact into a disgusting rumour on the Queen and her company's fame... and it still is a popular error.

Have you ever heard that Marie Antoinette visited J-J. Rousseau's tomb in Ermenonville ? I read it twice in different books and I was surprised. Maybe philosophers bore a good character in every part of the society, including the Court, then.

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Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:32 am
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
I didn't know about this, but I'm not surprised. Marie Antoinette read Rousseau, and she was quite fond of his writings and thought. She liked the Rousseian search for "nature", feeling, and a simpler way of life: just think about the Trianon, it represented this attitude quite well, or about her changing her way to dress during the years, in favour of more and more simple and confortable clothes. In many respects, MA was a woman of her age, and it can sound ironic that she was influenced by some of the same ways to think which were then to form the cultural background of many revolutionaries.

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Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:09 pm
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
I thought I read somewhere that Marie Antoinette had diamonds on the soles of her shoes. Has anyone ever heard of that?


Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:41 pm
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
I don't believe in them either, but I do find them interesting.....

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Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:46 pm
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
Anouk wrote:
Have you ever heard that Marie Antoinette visited J-J. Rousseau's tomb in Ermenonville ? I read it twice in different books and I was surprised. Maybe philosophers bore a good character in every part of the society, including the Court, then.


Yes, she did, I think with a small group of people from the court.

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Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:39 pm
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
I have read that in Paris was rumored that Marie Antoinette had a room made of diamonds in Petit Trianon. Obviously, that rumour isn't true.
And I heard too that the courtiers do their needs in the mirror's gallery during the parties in Versailles. That rumour is false too, i don't think that the courtiers do this like animals..

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Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:29 pm
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
Yes, unfortunately (some) people did pee in Versailles - like animals.


Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:57 am
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
I suspect this activity (urinating in the halls of Versailles) has been much exaggerated over time, or misinterpreted. The English journalist, Arthur Young, writes in 1787: "In viewing the King's apartment, which he had not left a quarter of an hour, with those slight traits of disorder that showed he lived in it, it was amusing to see the blackguard figures that were walking uncontested about the palace, and even in his bed chamber; men whose rags betrayed them to be in the last stage of poverty, and I was the only person that stared and wondered how the devil they got there."

One should keep in mind that the palace was always open to the public, and those relieving themselves in the corridors and chambers were very probably the sightseers, not the courtiers.

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Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:38 am
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
Actually there's a fair assortment of comments on the dubious excretory habits of the French upper classes. Franklin describes the cornices, etc. of Versailles catching feces as the chamber maids emptied pots from windows, and also talks of the tendency to improvise toilets everywhere. Several English travelers were dismayed by where the French did their business and how - well-bred ladies apparently thought nothing of performing the less delicate requirements of nature in front of men they did not know, and it was not unusual to find "gifts" on doorsteps.

When you consider that Louis XIV received people on his close-stool, it's not hard to imagine a generally loose approach to the whole business. As for peeing, there's one delightful story where a young lord took a whiz at the Opera without leaving his box. Unfortunately, the latter was right above that of the Regent's mother, who thus received the bounty from above.

Even today in France they find it necessary to put "Defense d'uriner" signs everywhere - even on cemeteries in some cases - and I was dismayed in the Eighties to notice that one urinal was in the hallway next to the pay phone (the principle apparently being that, since no one could actually see the offending organ, there was nothing untoward about this.)

It's also useful to bear in mind that modern ideas of privacy grew up about this time, so people overall may have had less a prioris about what one did where.

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Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:02 pm
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
The lack of privacy doesn't surprise me, when you consider that most of the chateaux and manses of the time did not utilize internal hallways. Rooms opened directly into other rooms; so that one might have to pass through someone elses bedchamber to reach their own. I read in a teatise on the Chateau de Meudon, that its central corridor was revolutionary for its time, allowing residents to move about the building without passing through its various chambers. This unique feature didn't seem to catch on however, because it wasn't duplicated in later buildings.

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Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:34 am
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
jimcheval wrote:
Actually there's a fair assortment of comments on the dubious excretory habits of the French upper classes. Franklin describes the cornices, etc. of Versailles catching feces as the chamber maids emptied pots from windows, and also talks of the tendency to improvise toilets everywhere. Several English travelers were dismayed by where the French did their business and how - well-bred ladies apparently thought nothing of performing the less delicate requirements of nature in front of men they did not know, and it was not unusual to find "gifts" on doorsteps.



That would make an English court different? Were those characteristics only of a French court or the 18th century courts in general?

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Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:08 pm
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
Marija Vera wrote:
That would make an English court different? Were those characteristics only of a French court or the 18th century courts in general?


If I recall, Versailles was built without any bathroom like facilities at all, hence the chamberpots and people relieving themselves in the corner. While there weren't toilets as we know them in the 18th century, the English court may have been a little more hygienic in that matter, or at least courtiers weren't doing their business in the hallways or chambermaids dumping things out of windows.

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Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:25 pm
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Post Re: What is the strangest rumour that you have heard or read?
Wasn't Antoinette noted for having her own "water closet" with buckets on a pulley system that ran through a tunnel to flush the toilet? She also bathed daily which was unusual hygiene for the day, if I recall correctly.

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Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:06 pm
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