latin quarter, Maps

Zamour, the Beloved Slave of Madame du Barry

13 rue Maître-Albert Paris 75005

On the 7th of February 1820, the body of Louis-Benoit Zamor was found by his neighbor in his 2nd floor apartment located in the Rue Perdu (today rue Maitre Albert, right by Notre Dame).

Where Zamour lived and died

The writer Jacques Levron remarked that, “He lived in a small, sordid room, disliked by everyone. His body was thrown in a communal pit and no one came to his funeral.”

Louis-Benoit Zamor

Zamour spent much of his childhood at Versaille where he lived as the adopted son AKA human slave of Madame du Barry, famous maîtresse-en-titre to Louis XV. Born in Bangladesh around 1762, he was captured as a child by English slave traders then bought to France where he was given as a gift to the king’s favorite plaything. Jeanne Bécu, the former call girl turned Countess who gradually moved up in rank as she moved around the beds of her many lovers, until peaking with Louis XV.

Madame du Barry et le page Zamore painted by Jean-Baptiste André Gautier-Dagoty

But alas, the higher one climbs by giving sexual favors, the farther there is to fall, and du Berry found herself under the blade of the guillotine begging the executioner for “encore un petit moment!” in 1793. Seeking vindication for the years he spent serving her hot chocolate (daily, apparently at 9am) and dressing up to entertain her as a savage African (he was Indian),

Portrait of Du Barry done by  Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, 1782

However payback is a bitch, and Zamour himself threw Du Barry under the Revolutionary Bus when he testified against her 1792. He acknowledged that even if du Berry treated him to a lavish lifestyle at the French royal court, she humiliated him and made jokes at his expense. She may have baptized and educated him, but he was little more than her human pet. Eventually, she would find herself under the guillotine blade, begging for her life. Unfortunately for Zamour, revenge must not have been so sweet because he found himself imprisoned during the Reign of Terror for several weeks when he was accused of treason as well.

Image of Madame du Barry and Zamour from the Sophia Coppola film Marie Antoinette

He miraculously survived and post-Revolution, he came to the Latin Quarter of Paris, where he was known as a bitter old man. No shit! Having received a valuable education at Versaille, he worked as a tutor but was known to physically abuse the students he worked with. Despite the legacy he was left with, I really think there is more to Zamour than what we know.

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