Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Les Chiens (Doggies)


Those royals loved their dogs.   Just a quick post on the subject, inspired by the mural on the wall of the room in which we waited for our tour of the King's apartments and chapel to begin.  Louis XV was especially fond of dogs and is quoting as having said that only his dogs loved him for himself.  It's lonely at the top.   

I don't know the story of any of these particular dogs nor why the smallest one is the only one left unnamed. It looks similar to Thisbe...

This spaniel, Thisbe, belonged to Marie Antoinette and was with her at the Temple.  It's true that Marie Antoinette's friend, the Princesse de Lamballe, brought her the gift of a puppy when she returned to the Queen's side while she was at the Tuileries.  I wonder if Thisbe is that puppy. Or did the Lamballe give it to her while she was at the Temple?  I'm not going to slip into crazy mode and spend three hours trying to find out.  I think it was the Tuileries.

Anyway, according to legend, Thisbe wasn't allowed to accompany her master when she was moved to the Conciergerie, but sat outside the prison door every day, then, when the time came, followed her to the guillotine and howled at her execution.  I didn't absorb the story when I read it, because it was not only too sad (not that I avoid sad, as we all know, but I don't need to waste heartache on fictional sad) but sounded unlikely.

The rescued stray in my hotel lobby was too excited to stand still for a decent picture, though I tried to get one as he darted around.

Mops was a pug that accompanied Marie Antoinette during the journey from Austria to France when she was fourteen years old.  He wasn't allowed to continue all the way to Versailles, but was delivered to her later.

Dogs were given as signs of friendship.  Count Fersen ordered one for Marie Antoinette named Odon (Oden?) that was of the same large breed as one of his own by the same name.  I'd have to go find that story, who knows where, to confirm, but I'm not sure that he actually received it in time to give it to her before her world fell apart and she left Versailles. Man, I'm lazy today.

Dogs and cats weren't the only pets at Versailles.  Mesdames even had monkeys who caused a commotion when they got scared and ran wild one day.  The lack of an successful clean-up system contributed to the fact that 250 years later people still mention the smell when discussing Versailles.

Louis XV's greyhounds - Misse and Turlu

Two of Louis XV's dog's beds

You might also like this Louis XV dog sedan or this other sumptuous Louis XV dog bed.

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