A LETTER FROM VERSAILLES ~ Fleur de Louis by Arquiste



Réception du Grand Condé à Versailles (1878) by Jean-Léon Gérôme


My Dear Louise,

I hope this letter finds you well in Venice. Much has happened here at court since you left for Italy and the less demanding attentions of the Doge over those of our King.

The Queen is dead; of this I am sure you are by now quite aware. Sweet and lovely Queen Marie Theresa passed most painfully into Gods care on July 30, 1683. My dear friend the Queen expired in my very arms and I am bereft.  Upon her death his Majesty said. “This is the first trouble which she has given me.”  I was told he had the cologne he wore the day of his meeting her, L’Eau d’Ange sprinkled on his mourning dress and wig and placed into all the Oiselets de Chypre infusers to perfume the chateau.

Subsequently Versailles is in an uproar! Dressmakers, wigmakers, perfumers, cobblers are arriving in droves and the corridors are crawling with them as they rush like mad bees from apartment to apartment of all the quite hysterical ladies of the court. The hunt is on and I do not mean for foxes or deer in the Versailles Forest. No matter how young or for that matter, decrepit some ladies may be they are all casting there nets to catch the kings eye. It is a comedy worthy of that charming Monsieur Moliere. (The King has ordered a revival performance of “Les Fourberies de Scapin” to ease his mourning, or so I am told)

In any case my dear is it a madhouse here in the palace. While the King is sniffing orange blossoms from the trees he brought from Spain in the Orangery for the Queen’s pleasure the lines are being drawn in the sand for a war of silk fans and lace garters. His Majesty’s current mistress, Madame de Montespan is on her way down, down, down. The king is so obviously tired of her. I can hear the convent bells tolling her name or at the very least a rustic forgotten chateau far from court is very much in her cards.

Madame du Ville, is pushing her overdressed idiot thirteen year old daughter before her everywhere like a bread cart in Paris. She might as well be shouting “Fresh young virgin (I doubt it) for the taking!” The Madames Helene Dampierre and Josephine Joussineau de Troudonnet are in open but silent battle over a certain jeweler from Pairs who has for sale the most stunning earbobs in emeralds and diamonds. They both want those jewels to lure his majesty to there beds. As if earrings could catch a king over charm and style and a perfectly powdered bosom.

As for me I am standing back and watching the entertainment from a safe distance. I did not come to court to make a fool of myself. No, on the contrary I came to court to make a name for myself and to better my lot in life. In other words I shall find small ways to comfort his majesty’s grief, to be of assistance in any way I can. In short I shall dab a bit of “Pommade de Florence” in a few well chosen strategic places, bide my time and in so doing become indispensable to the King.

Other than that, not much is going on at Versailles.

I hope all is well with you? Don’t lose your head to some rich Venetian and keep your sights on the Doge. We must make our way in this world the best we can with the talents that god gave us as women.

Yours ever and always,

Madame de Maintenon signature 3



Photograph of young Louis XIV – The Sun King  by Alexia Sinclair

Fleur de Louis by Arquiste is inspired by the moment when King Louis XIV first laid eyes upon his young Spanish bride Marie Theresa of Spain. They met at the Isle of Pheasants near the city of Irun on the border of France and Spain in 1660. The meeting was not only to present the young princess to the King but to ensure peace between France and Spain. As it is today it was not considered good luck in the 17th Century to see the bride before the wedding but Louis being bold and of an entitled nature presented himself to King Philip IV and his daughter. To avert the awkward moment the Spanish King pretended not to see Louis and his daughter being a proper catholic princess blushed and lowered her eyes. But not before she got an spectacular eyeful of her future.

This perfume created by Rodrigo Flores-Roux for Carlos Huber’s Arquiste line captures the splendor and elegance of the age of the Sun King. It opens with a gorgeous African Orange blossom that Louis who was known as the sweetest smelling monarch in Europe loved. This orange note also brings in a touch of Spain and the Infanta Marie Theresa. Rose, jasmine signify the favorite perfume of the King, L’Eau d’Ange. Under this is a warm iris note supported by an earthy deep royally rich Orris which gives a nod to the ladies of the French court who wore Pomade de Florence which the king loved.  In the base is a sturdy cedar note that blends with a fresh bright pine note. These wood notes add a strong masculine support the waning notes in the dry down. I find that even though it is marketed to women Fleur de Louis is very much a uni-sex fragrance fit for a King and his consort (and however many mistresses he may have).

It is delicate, refined and quite beautiful and falls in feeling somewhere between a classic eau de cologne and a fine perfume. One might expect that description to mean it smells old fashioned. Not at all in fact, I find this perfume to be youthful, bright and full of colorful nuances.  Both the sillage and  longevity are of a moderate nature. It projects at about arms length which I find perfect and lasts on my skin around six hours.

This sophisticated and beautiful perfume is indeed a royal treasure to be enjoyed by all who wish to share the moment of promise that once enfolded a king and queen at the dawn of the Sun King’s reign.




  1. Dear Françoise,

    I can well imagine the young daughter of Madame du Ville being pushed around like a bread cart. Of course she is a virgin in terms of men although I have educated her myself on the pleasures pertaining to the quim. I do see the Doge but only after walking 5 miles through a damp underground passage which doth wreck my finely powdered décolletage. The young Huber recently passed though Venice. We met at La Fenice. He passed me a vial of Fleur de Louis. I believe it is his favorite and a fine perfume it is. But my favourite of his will always be the flower he had in his buttonhole that night. When he kissed me thrice the scent of gardenia clung to my wig. I have since ordered this as a wax solid to carry in my poison ring. Not because it is poisonous but because it is quite the opposite. I will waft my way over my rivals and artfully smear the contents of the ring on the Doge’s bedpost as I leave.

    Visit soon. As you know, I can never return to Paris.

    Every So,


    • Dear Louise,
      I see you are up to your usual pursuits. And because of your indelicate and shocking proclivities you, as you say can never return to France. (or Belgium, Germany and parts of Switzerland and Austria). Be careful my dear and do better in Venice than you did in Versailles or I fear your next stop will be the harem in Topkapi palace in Istanbul. (I think there could be a book in that for you if nothing else)
      Keep your hands off sailors and keep in touch with me,

      Françoise d’Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon

      • Dear Françoise,

        I am not sure it was necessary to list all those countries.

        You have the sight but not the clarity. My jewels, but not me, have ended up at the Topkai. A fair exchange with a castrato from La Fenice who placed me into the hands of the sailors that you warned me of. Well, at least into the hands of the captain of a ship bound for the Lands Down Under. I do hope that these lands exist and that courtly life is more to susceptible to my endeavors. The captain has graced my bosom with pearls of black; not painted you understand. I have hidden them on my person, in the usual place that you used to find such treasures.

        Je suis la perle noire de la nuit.

        Jamais si,


  2. Donc, Monsieur M- un otre chef d’oeuvre! Fantastique!

    (I will forward this to Carlos Huber, so that he can add it to his copy of your wonderful  Flor y Canto post.)

    A demain, Madame H


  3. Sensational, and in oh so many ways! Scandalous! And I love the further correspondence – not to mention the scent you’ve conjured, I can almost smell it… Must seek this perfume out.

    • Oh Vickie your comment means so much to me. Thank you! The Arquiste line is really magical and each scent is based on a historical event. Really right up my alley and very unique. I think you would love it. They have the line at Barney’s NY…you have one in Beverly Hills, right? Go get some samples. Also get some samples of Atkinsons line, and Fredrick Malle (portrait of a lady, lipstick rose and musc ravagure) you need a day at Barney’s…Lanier’s orders! Or come up here and we go together.

      • Now, SF and YOU sound magical to me. Barneys pales! xox

  4. NIce to see you’ve given it 5 stars. 🙂
    I have great admiration for the Arquiste line – I’m walking around with their samples in my bag so I can sniff them occasionally.

    That is some great letter you wrote!

    • Ines I love your idea of a sniff on the run with you samples. What a great idea. The letter was so much fun to research and write. Thank you!

  5. Gorgeous, Lanier. From top to…oh, wherever it is that La Petite Louise hides those black pearls…naughty girl (and I could add quite ahead of her time but that would be pushing it, even for me).
    What a lovely escape you offered, un grand Merci!
    PS. Please sign me up for the day at Barney’s with Ms V…

    • ah Heather thank you and it will be a day that we will start with breakfast at Cafe du la Presse then on to Barney’s, Dior, Chanel, Diptyque, Neiman Marcus, Lunch at John’s Grill then Hermes, Gumps, Saks 5th Avenue, Jacqueline Perfume then coffee and chocolate at tout sweet patisserie. How does that sound?

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