Inside an Authentic French Boudoir in Paris
You may or may not have heard of a boudoir, and if you have, your definition may vary, especially with today’s boudoir photography rapidly en vogue. The boudoir is defined as a woman’s private sitting room or salon, often near the bedroom or one with it. The term derives from the French verb bouder (to sulk or pout) or the adjective boudeur (sulking), a name given to the room which was originally a space for sulking in or withdrawing from society. Curious to see inside an authentic French boudoir bedroom? Read on to see a stunning boudoir design recovered from Paris’ Hôtel de Crillon.
A Historic French Boudoir from Hôtel de Crillon
The now renowned Hôtel de Crillon, set at the foot of the Champs-Élysées, is a Parisian monument historique. In 1758, King Louis XV commissioned the stone palace along with a second to form the Place de la Concorde. The western building, now Hôtel de Crillon, was first occupied by Louis Marie Augustin, duc d’Aumont. A famous patron of the arts and owner of this stunning boudoir decorated with delightful painted paneling.
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in New York City, the space was designed by architect Pierre-Adrien Pâris for the duc d’Aumont. A man of taste and a significant art collector, the duke hired Pâris to design his new home. Pâris studied in Rome, partly at the duke’s expense. Thus, making him most likely familiar with early sixteenth-century decorative wall paintings. Creations executed by the likes of Raphael and his assistants in the Vatican loggias. A look that clearly inspired the embellishment of the paneling in this space. Seen in particular in the use of charming, lighthearted motifs such as animals and rolling acanthus.
Painted by an unknown artist, the exterior windows of this intimate polyhedral boudoir gave access to a balcony with views toward the rue des Champs-Élysées (now the rue Boissy d’Anglas). Four mirrors set into the wall paneling, each angled to reflect the arabesque decoration. In The Met exhibition, the mirror inside the niche is a replacement for the original pane of clear glass that allowed light to shine into the stairwell behind the room.
The Boudoir Furnishings
According to the 1782 inventory drawn up after the duke’s death, the boudoir featured four stools, two armchairs, and an ottoman, or comfortable sofa, described as having three backs. Most likely, the stools went under one of the mirrors. And the ottoman, complete with cushions, pillows, and bolsters in the niche. All the seating upholstery was in blue moiré silk, the same color as that of the gros de Tours (ribbed silk) curtains.
In 1782 a celebrated auction dispersed most of the furnishings and collections of the duc d’Aumont. However, the woodwork of the room stayed in the building. Six years later, François-Félix-Dorothée des Balbes de Berton, comte de Crillon (1748–1820), acquired the hotel, and it remained the property of his descendants until the early 20th century.
If you are feeling inspired by this authentic creation from Hôtel de Crillon and want to create your very own French boudoir bedroom at home, we have everything you need to know. Whether you love the romantic vibes of the traditional French boudoir bedroom style or you prefer a more modern look, this article has all the details you need to bring your very own authentic boudoir to life!
All Images Courtesy of The Met