Perfumery enjoyed special prominence under the reign of the glamorous and often sickly Louis XIV. The king was nicknamed le doux fleurant (the sweet flowery one) on account of his fascination with odors, which he used copiously for both medicinal and aesthetic reasons.
Under Louis XIV’s successor, his great-grandson Louis XV, perfume and perfumed products were in higher demand than ever in what came to be known as la cour parfumée—the perfumed court.
Queen Marie Antoinette had a fragrance just for her, made by perfumer Jean-Louis Fargeon. The queen loved floral aromas and the rich fragrance was inspired by the surrounding nature of the Petit Trianon, her favourite getaway in the surrounding gardens of Versailles. It is said the strong perfume was her demise during her family’s attempted escape from the Tuileries during the revolution. Marie Antoinette had luxurious daily baths. When most people only bathed once a year, Mary had daily baths in her private bathroom. Created by perfumer Jean-Louis Fargeon, the Bain the Modestie allowed her to bathe without being exposed to the eyes of the chambermaids. The queen would dress a flannel chemise and sit inside a tub filled with lavender and lemon scented water, on a cushion packed with linseeds, marshmallow roots, lily bulbs, sweet almonds and pine nuts. She then washed herself with muslim sachets filled with exfoliating brans and soaps with herbs, amber and bergamot.
Long form articles:
de Feydeau, Elisabeth
Published by I.B. Tauris (2006)
Lewis, W. H.
Published by Waveland Press, Incorporated (1997)