Pleasures and Pastimes of the Bourgeoisie


The Bourgeois at a Ball
~ 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



To receive an invitation like this one on the left is every social climbing bourgeoisie's' ultimate goal, for it is an invitation to a Royal Ball. But once received how does one conduct oneself at this gathering?

(click on picture for source information)


Greeting the Hostess
When women are introduced to women a slight inclination of the body, a smile, and an appropriate remark are proper.
When introduced to a woman a man should bow, make a pleasant observation and, if the hostess is not known to him, express gratitude at the introduction.
Being Introduced to a guest
A women is introduced to a guest either by the Hostess or her companion. Both must gain her permission before introductions are made. If the guest is a woman the above applies, if the guest is a married man the woman should receive him with a pleasant remark, if the guest is an unmarried man than the woman smiles and repeats his name.
In a casual encounter no formal introductions are necessary between men but the men should shake hands. However, at a ball it is proper to be formal. When a man is introducing an unmarried man to unmarried female he first gains her permission and only then does he he remark: "M. Dufault desires to be introduced to Mlle. Havilland


The Dance

The dance most revered at this time was the minuet. A complicated but beautiful dance, it was the hallmark of a refined member of society. Of course the bourgeoisie studied the dance - it would be uncivilized if they did not know the proper dances. Just as there was to every encounter, there is a certain accepted way to begin the dance. Persons of gracious manners followed these dictates to the letter.

(click on picture for its source)

Before A lady usually never asks a gentlemen to dance, instead she waits for an invitation from him. A man must first ask permission of the lady herself, or her chaperone, to dance and if granted he must keep his appointment.
During "In round dances the man supports the woman with his right arm around the waist, taking care not to hold her too closely. Her right hand is extended, held by his left hand, and her left hand is on his arm or shoulder, her head erect" (Green 106).
After "At the end of each dance, the lady's partner will offer his arm, and conduct her to her to a seat; then bow, and she releases him from further attendance, as he may be engaged for the next dance" (Hartley 168)