What was childhood like for the fun and flirty Madame Du Barry?
As a child she was enrolled at the Couvent de Sainte-Aure, where she lived and was educated. Each year about 40 students were enrolled and admission cost between 250 - 300 livres/yr. Some ladies would enroll for an escape or retreat, and they paid 500 livres/yr.
The school was run by 53 nuns, and the ran a tight ship. For starters, pupils were not permitted to play, goof around or basically have fun. If you were caught laughing loudly, you would be in big trouble!
Everyday the students would wake at 5am, get dressed and prepare for mass at 7am. The uniform was simple, white clothing, an unstarched veil, simple leather shoes, and a black hood. Underneath the hood they would wear a scratchy wool headband on their forehead. By 9pm it was time for bed again, and the cycle would continue.
The education provided was quite good, courses included reading, writing, needle work, house cleaning, and household management. In fact Du Barry, who was often mocked for being uneducated, had a very decent education for women of the time. She was horrible at spelling, but books she enjoyed included the writings of Cicero and Demosthenes!
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