~Madame de Stäel
of the Restoration
of Victor Hugo
of Printed Materials
Viewed by Foreigners
~Parisians Viewed by
Both male and female visitors who made
observations on the Parisians focused a significant amount
of their energy on the Parisian woman. It seems as if she
is the embodiment of French culture. This "exquisite
mosaic-work," as referred to by Frances Trollope,
played a distinguished part in all aspects of Parisian social
society -- for the women set the styles and lead conversations
(Kramer, 45). An
example of such a woman is Madame
Récamier. This famous salonnière
was considered to be the picture of female perfection in
the Parisian society. In the mid 1830's she was described
as the most beautiful woman in all of France and Europe.
Her manner, dress, voice, and language
were all perfect.
However, there was more to the
Parisian woman than meets the eye. Aside from the
general descriptions, she was given characteristics
all her own.
a reputation for being:
- strong willed
While on the contrary Parisian
men were considered to be:
- more passive
- easily manipulated
thus seen to have been controlled by the women.
Figure 3.2 Type
Parisian Une Promeneuse aux Champs-Élysées
drawn by de M.F. Rops and etched by M. Boetzel,
for Paris Guide, 1867 (Lacroix,
The image above is an
example of a 'typical' Parisian woman.
This sketch was done for a French Guide to Paris,
thus it is emphasizing the characteristics of a Parisienne.
The young woman's elegant dress and lively, yet free
flowing manner make her distinctly Parisian. Her face
shows that she is dynamic as her lips are parted indicating
she getting ready to speak, and her neck is sharply
turned to her right. She could have seen something
or someone that interests her. She is lightly holding
her dress as she strolls gaily along the Champs-Élysées.
This type of stroll differs from the flaneur
who observes with a sharp eye while walking.
She manages to combine an elegant yet vigorous and
bold style as she promenades down the boulevard.
a wealthy German who lived in Paris as a child, recounted
in his memoires his thoughts about Parisian woman. He saw
them as clever women who could get their way,
"She knows how to talk,
to will, to guide, her man - she is full of repartee,
or persuasion, of caprice...she holds up her head"
M. Graindorge further describes them
by saying that through acting
difficult, they get what they want, and they always
make themselves the central figure whenever they
It is descriptions like the ones above
that exemplify the complex being that is the Parisian woman.
This is what gives her her unmistakable