Growing Up Du Barry: Lessons for Life | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Growing Up Du Barry: Lessons for Life

February 23, 2009

Growing Up Du Barry: Lessons for Life

The instruction Jeanne received when at the the Couvent de Sainte-Aure proved to have a powerful impact on the girl, and it really shaped the way she lived her life. She developed a profound respect, yes believe it or not, for the church and she made it her business to build private chapels in all the homes she occupied. (After she became the King's favorite of course!)

The first chapel she built was at her hotel at Versailles. She picked out many pieces of art work for it's walls, candles for devotion and ornaments to fill it with. She did the same at St Vrain and the last chapel she built was at Louveciennes.

She also continued to practice the lessons she learned in household management. In fact, when she was at her height of gaiety, and had more money to throw around than imaginable, the mistress of Louis XV treated her household at Versailles as if she were a bourgeois wife!

Yes, she was happy to spend money at the blink of an eye, and she did! But every bill that would come in, from every purchase made, she would personally check over to make sure all the numbers were right. She recorded a daily account of each expense her household incurred.

Her household management extended beyond keeping the books straight. In 1792 she traveled to London, but did not forget to write a letter to her Steward to make sure jam was made from all the fruit grown at Louveciennes!

6 comments

  1. You are absolutely right, Lauren. Madame du Barry always considered herself a Catholic, unlike Madame de Pompadour, who was more of a freethinker and hated the Jesuits.

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  2. I love this post because you bring out a side of Madame duBarry that many are not always aware of. She was definitely very Catholic and observant, especially when it came to charity..despite...
    Thanks Lauren:)

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  3. Yes! Although her life as mistress is juicy gossip enough, the way she lived her life outside of that 'occupation' is great gossip on it's own!

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  4. My kind of woman: going over her bills meticulously and then off to party in London.

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  5. Which one came first of them?

    For Louis XIV, madame de Montespan (whose husband considered himself a widower) preceded Madame de Maintenon, who became his wife in a morganatic marriage.

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  6. How fascinating. I wonder how she reconciled her role as mistress with her devotion to the church.
    Do you know if her expense records still exist somewhere (Paris archives perhaps)?

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