Saturday, 9 November 2019

The Courtiers' Lodgings (I)

Louis-Marie-Augustin d'Aumont de Rochebaron, Duc d'Aumont
The Duc d'Aumont served as the king's First Gentleman of the Bedchamber (Premier Gentilhomme de la Chambre) and as such was given an apartment in the Aile du Midi where he lived around 1732. Despite his grand charge at court, his apartment consisted of just three rooms - not much compared to the eight rooms assigned to the First Maître d'Hôtel who was housed in the same wing. Note that while his apartment included two fireplaces it had no place to reheat food.

Apartment of the Duc d'Aumont

Charles-Godefroy de La Tour d'Auvergne, Duc de Bouillon
Charles-Godefroy held one of the so-called "grand charges" of the French crown: Grand Chambellan or Great Chaplain. As such, it was no surprise that he was given a sumptuous apartment in the Aile du Nord - conveniently close to the magnificent chapel. The floor plan of his apartment dates to 1755 and counts no less than 11 separate rooms: (a) wardrobe, (b) passage, (c) toilet, (d) cabinet, (e) bedchamber, (f) first antechamber, (g) second antechamber), (h) grand cabinet, (i) inner cabinet and (j) toilet. It is quite incredible that his apartment contained no less than two toilets in an age where some had none at all!

Apartment of the Duc de Bouillon
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Duc de Bouillon

Françoise de Chalus, Comtesse de Narbonne
Françoise had the benefit of being a close confidante of Mesdames of France; as such, she was housed in their near vicinity in the Aile du Nord. She was particularly attached to Madame Adélaide who wielded a considerable influence with her father, Louis XV. Perhaps it is due to this influence that the Comtesse de Narbonne managed to secure a large apartment for herself which included rooms for her husband too. No less than 13 rooms were allocated for her use: (a) uncertain, (b) first antechamber, (c) personal cabinet, (d) second antechamber, (e) wardrobe, (f) cabinet, (g) wardrobe), (h) bedchamber, (i) maid-servant, (j) reserved for her husband and (k) servant.

Madame de Narbonne's apartment

Interestingly, this is the only apartment of the four which specifically shows accommodation for servants: one female (housed in "i") and one for a boy-servant (housed in "k"). The rooms marked with an "a" were described as "pieces noirs" which I am not quite sure what means. Still, she inhabited the apartment in 1766.

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Comtesse de Narbonne

Joachim-Casimir-Léon de Béthune, Comte de Béthune
The Comte de Béthune had achieved the post of Chevalier d'Honneur to Madame Adélaide and from there was granted entry into the king's chamber.  Nevertheless, he had to "make due" with an apartment in the Ministers' Wing. Still, his living conditions were better than others who were lodging in the palace proper. He had fireplaces in four out of five rooms which helped a great deal in the uninsulated apartment. If you look closely at the room farthest to the left, there is a small square with two circles on it. This is most likely a stove for reheating meals. He lived here from 1761-67.

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Comte de Béthune
 The Comte de Béthune's apartment

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