Paris: City of Light

The Salons of the Restoration


Parisian Salons
 ~Salons of   Enlightenment
 ~Madame de   Stäel         
~Salons of the   Restoration
 ~The Salons of   Victor Hugo

Influence of Printed Materials
 ~Pre-Revolutionary   Timeline
 ~Post-Revolutionary   Timeline


Defining the Parisians
 ~Parisians Viewed   by Foreigners
 ~Parisians   Viewed by   Themselves
 ~Paris Fashion




Paris was quiet enough at the beginning of the Restoration. After so much commotion and disturbance, the masses were well pleased to have a little repose. Some salons were open once more, but in the words of Mme. de Stäel:

"Very few agreeable members of the old régime were in Paris, for the aged were for the most part broken down through long continued misfortunes or soured by deeply rooted indignation. The nobles who returned from exile were like shipwrecked sailors cast on the shore and still bewildered by the storm" (De Saint-Amand, 73).


Among the salons famous at the start of the Restoration were those of Madame de Stäel and Madame Récamier. The independent Mme. de Stäel, though enthusiasic for Louis XVIII, held a liberal salon. Mme. Récamier, on the other hand, who above all was a pretty woman, had an eclectic mix of guests at her salon.


On commenting on society after the Restoration, Mme. de Stäel noted: "The fear which the imperial government inspired has entirely destroyed the customary freedom of conversation; under that government nearly all Frenchmen became diplomatists so that society indulged only in insipid talk which never recalled the bold spirit of France" (De Saint-Amand, 52).


The rapid and startling events of a century that had been compressed into a span of a decade had brought incredible changes to France. The 19th century brought a tone of seriousness with many dead hopes and sad memories for the aristocrats.


Let us now learn how women such as Madame Juliette Récamier managed to rise to the challenge and carry on with their salons.




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