Maps, Opera and Les Grands Boulevards

The Final Resting Place of Madame de Pompadour

3 rue de la Paix 75002 Paris

Despite her birth as a commoner, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson effectively used her beauty and intelligence to rise through the ranks and beds of Parisian elite until she peaked with King Louis XV in 1745. Like an 18th century Melania Trump, Jeanne managed to have not only a position under a man of power (literally and figuratively) but one as an influential advisor next to him.

Madame de Pompadour
by François Boucher, around 1758.

She dabbled in a bit of everything at Versailles, acting as Lady in Waiting to the Queen (AWKWARD) to unofficial Prime Minister. She was responsible for the latest trends in art and fashion during the Age of Enlightenment and was even a BFF of Voltaire. She retired from her Mistress duties after only 5 years at the age of 29, but remained a close friend and confidante to the King, even helping him select his new night time companions. The Petit Trianon, which is usually associated with Marie Antoinette, was actually initially built for her. Unfortunately, she contracted TB at the age of 42 and despite the Royal Custom that NO ONE SHALL BE ALLOWED TO KNOWINGLY DIE AT THE COURT OF VERSAILLES EXCEPT THE KING OR HIS FAMILY, Jeanne kicked the bucket in her Versailles Chateau apartments in 1764.

Portrait started before her death, finished after. Madame de Pompadour à son métier à broder by  François-Hubert Drouais (1763-4)

What happened next is where myself, history, and Paris streets come in. Jeanne was laid to rest next to her daughter who died at age 9, in the Couvent des Capucines, today the area just north of the Place du Vendome. However when the Couvent was destroyed in 1806 to make room for today’s Rue de la Paix, her tomb in the cave was apparently never moved to the Catacombs with the rest. Legend has it she lies there today, just under the pavement of number 3.

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