Pleasures and Pastimes of the Bourgeoisie


~ Pre -revolution

~Fashion in Les Mis

~Rise in Popularity
~Economic and Social Symbolism
~Representation in Les Mis

Gardens ~17th Century ~18th Century ~19th Century ~Versailles

Gambling ~Pre-Revolutionary ~Cafés & Cercles

Opéra & Theatre
~The Revolution
~Social Status
~Les Misérables

Etiquette ~Promenade ~Dances ~Dinner ~Casinos and Salons

Bibliography ~Fashion ~Etiquette ~Restaurants ~Opéra ~Picture Bibliography


Through Gambling, the Bourgeoisie proved their prosperity.

They set themselves apart form the lower classes in that they had the money to gamble, and imitated the nobles in their high-stakes gambling.

Une Soirée la Mode. (English title: A Fashionable Party) Monnier. c. 1829 (Farewell 113)

Gambling is the preoccupation of all in this lithograph. This fashionable party is all gambling; cards are played not only in the left-hand foreground of the work, but seated figures cluster together (presumably gambling as well) in the adjacent room. The popularity and sociability of gambling is clear, as eleven people are clustered around a small table of cards, watching only three people play. This piece is a caricature in that it portrays the stuffy bourgeoisie in their tall cravats and pretty stockings as they party "hearty" through card games.


Gambling is an act of risk. In the willingness to risk losing money, the gambler proves that he or she has little attachment to money: losing is not a big deal. Though the Bourgeoisie desired to look as though money meant nothing to them, in reality money meant a great deal to the Bourgeoisie.

In Gambling of the Pre-Revolutionary Era, the dominant stereotype of the gambler was an aristocrat with nothing better to do than gamble. After all, money was no object, and the noble delighted in showing off his or her disdain for money. The bourgeoisie adopted a contrary stance to this frivolous pastime, condemning all gambling as highly immoral. Yet, as the aristocracy's power waned, the bourgeois took up gambling as its own. An example of the post-revolutionary bourgeois acceptance and appreciation of gambling can be seen in the Gentleman's Cercle.