Voltaire Residence

This page shows people who were in the life of Emilie du Chatelet.


"Le Rocher" by Laurent Charpentier 1742, Musée de Lunéville
Nobles at the Court of King Stanislas at Lunéville
Members of the provincial nobility comprised the Court at Lunéville. During their visit in 1748, Voltaire wrote verses for all the women of the Court, kept the party in a cheerful stir, and staged comedies in the well-appointed theater.

Emilie took the part of leading lady in some of the plays and was able to show off her clothes and jewels to more effect than at Versailles.

The picture above portrays a dignified group of nobles on the quai next to the formal gardens at Lunéville. In reality, King Stanislas had abolished all formality at his Court and its atmosphere was that of a large, rather silly, country-house party. Practical jokes were encouraged and the courtiers shrieked and romped from morning to night. A dwarf, Bébé, who was adored by Stanislas, was the center of everything. He hid in the women's skirts, was always bad-tempered, smashed china and was cruel to animals.

Voltaire would have preferred to be at Versailles, or in Paris with Mme Denis, his niece and secret lover. However, he wrote to his friends saying Lunéville was an enchanted palace, and the King a most gracious host. In contrast, Emilie was having a wonderful time. She enjoyed the attention she was receiving, visited for hours with Mme du Boufflers, and spent a lot of time gambling at cards.

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