Parc-aux-Cerfs and Tales of Louis XV’s Harem

Parc-aux-Cerfs and Tales of Louis XV's Harem: Madame de Pompadour
Madame de Pompadour, by François Boucher, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Fifteen-year-old King Louis XV married a pious woman by the name of Marie Leszczyńska in September 1725. She was the daughter of the deposed King of Poland and 21 at the time. After their marriage, similar to most French kings, Louis XV took several mistresses. Among the most famous of all his mistresses, was his maîtresse-en-titre (chief mistress), named Madame de Pompadour. She was a beautiful, educated, and intelligent woman whom he met at a masked ball in February 1745.

Some years later, the name Parc-aux-Cerfs, which literally means stag park, began to be whispered at Louis XV’s court. Parc-aux-Cerfs, also known as the King’s Birdcage, was alleged to be where the King’s “harem” lived. Parc-aux-Cerfs was in a quarter of Versailles called Parc-aux-Cerfs, and it also happened to be the same neighborhood where Madame de Pompadour, the Louis XV’s favorite, settled after her physical relationship with him ended in 1752. Continue reading