People would rush there, to meet others and discuss literature and science. Parisian salons drew the most influential aristocrats and the most renowned artists. A salon’s reputation depended on the quality of its discussions and on the hosting qualities of the lady of the house.
How could you host people in the best possible conditions and make a name for yourself in the high society of 18th-century Paris? Madame Thierry de Ville-d'Avray, the wife of the Intendant of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, invites us into the reception rooms of her luxury apartment on Place de la Concorde.
It is in the sumptuous corner reception room and its library that Madame Thierry de Ville-d'Avray welcomes us. Here the decor has been passed down from the former tenant of these apartments, Pierre-Élisabeth de Fontanieu, the first Intendant of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, who had it made by the architect and designer of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Jacques Gondouin.
The furniture is highly elegant and invites guests to talk with the lady of the house and the many intellectuals she invites. The place also includes a grand library that invites guests to read poetry, reflect philosophically and tell stories. It also regularly welcomes the era’s leading thinkers.
Reading of the tragedy ‘The Orphan of China’ by Voltaire in the salon organised by Madame Geoffrin, painted by Gabriel Lemonnier en 1812
Hosting in the best possible conditions also means delighting your guests with the tastiest dishes.
‘I present these dishes in our most beautiful French sets. My servants use a serving hatch hidden in a sideboard to bring dishes at ideal temperatures straight to the table in the dining room: ready so that my guests can help themselves!’ Madame Thierry de Ville-d'Avray explains to us.
The cook in the kitchen of Madame Thierry de Ville-d'Avray excels in the art of preparing many food products brought back by sailors from America or Asia, including potatoes, tomatoes, Indian peppers (chili peppers) and Indian hens from America (turkeys). Yet he also serves oysters, fish and honey cakes. Accompanied with champagne or fine wines, these are real delights for your taste buds!
And to finish with a sweet touch, Madame Thierry de Ville-d'Avray also recommends serving a mug of chocolate or this coffee recently discovered on the other side of the Atlantic, in the New World.
Depending on the time, you can invite your guests to eat from a buffet, letting them serve themselves, or at a table. Your servants will then place the dishes on the table, where your guests will have sat down, paying special attention to the overall display. Your guests can help themselves directly, depending on the dishes placed within their reach: your butler should therefore be careful to position the most refined dishes in accordance with the order of precedence. This is what is called ‘French service’.
With it, your literary salon is bound to be successful! Come and discover the eating options available at the Hôtel de la Marine by entering Jean-François Piège’s restaurant, Alain Ducasse’s bar or the café Au Café Lapérouse.