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Juliette Récamier

Jeanne Francoise Julie Adélaide Bernard (Born in 1777 Died in 1849 in Paris), otherwise known as Belle Juliette, was above all a celebrity known throughout Europe, famous for her beauty and virtue.

The daughter of sollicitor Jean Bernard, she was born in Lyon. At fifteen she married the well known banker Jacques Rose Récamier. Juliette was also intelligent, well read and affectionate. A good dancer, she also sang and could play both the harp and the piano. Her beauty and kindness helped build her reputation as an exceptional woman. It was said that she was able to charm, entertain or dispense with the over ardent without making enemies.

At the Abbaye-aux-Bois, where she held her salons for over thirty years, her influence on literature and politics was well known. Among the innumerable regular visitors were notable characters such as René Chateaubriand, her only real love, Germaine de Stael, her best friend, André Marie Ampère, Auguste de Prusse, Lucien Bonaparte, The Duchess of Devonshire, Pierre Simon Ballanche, Talma, Balzac, Delacroix, Lamartine, Sainte Beuve…

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Juliette and France History

Juliette Récamier lived during very tumultuous period and knew many monarchs.

She knew Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, dined at the table of Napoléon I and even knew the future Napoleon II as a child and adolescent.

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Juliette’s Friends

Despite her great success with men, many women were to be found amongst her friends, including:
Claire de Duras, a French writer, Clémence de Sermezy, sculptor, the Countess of Boigne who was also her benefactor and a great source of important information thanks to her memoirs telling of the restoration period and the July Monarchy, the Duchess of Devonshire, and English woman famous for her beauty and political activity, the Duchess d’Abrantès, wife of General Junot and colourful personality of the Empire, Delphine Gay, writer, and of course Madame de Staël who was her closest friend and mentor.

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Juliette’s lovers

All the great men of the times were in love with Juliette, who cleverly transformed their amorous intentions into lasting friendships. These men were of all origins, ranks of society and political opinions.

The only one who seems to have reacted badly to her gentle refusal was Napoleon Bonaparte, who forced her into exile. Below is a list of suitors and friends : Adrien de Montmorency, Matthieu de Montmorency, Lucien Bonaparte, Monsieur de la Harpe, Camille Jordan, Benjamin Constant, Pierre-Simon Ballanche, Paul de Noailles, Auguste de Staël, the Duke of Wellington, Antonio Canova, Prosper de Barantes, Paul François Jean Nicolas viscount of Barras, Eugène de Beauharnais, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, Joachim Murat.

 

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Chateaubriand

François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand (4 September 1768 – 4 July 1848) was a French writer, politician and diplomat. His love story with Juliette Récamier lasted 30 years.

He is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature.

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Swan

Juliette’s sensibility and tastes were refined over time, thanks to her contacts with the artists, critics and art lovers she frequented, as well as her visits to Italy and the time she spent at her salon.

Délécluze tells that he came across her one day talking with Jean-Jacques Ampère about his chronic of the 1824 salon that was published in the newspaper “Débats”. Even then, the very carefully studied décor of the hôtel on rue Mont-Blanc – with its numerous ornaments in the shape of stars or swans, soon to be essential elements of the Empire style – was proof that Juliette knew much about elegant neo-classicism, as shown by her collection. Mario Praz suggested a link between the “chaste sensuality” the Juliette was so famous for, and the icy, contemplative eroticism of Canova’s sculpture, a link that would have made their friendship easy to forge. Juliette Récamier, muse and patron of the arts  – Beaux Arts Museum of Lyon.

This is why we decided on a swan as the most fitting symbol for the logo of the hotel La Belle Juliette.

Staring as a young, timid lady from the provinces, she blossomed to become the muse of the salons of the time, so such a point that she was referred to as La Divine, La Belle Juliette, considered to be the most beautiful woman in Europe. Also, the white of the swan was the favourite colour of Juliette Récamier.

And finally, because the swan is the animal most represented in furniture of the period, notably thanks to the Jacob brothers, who included it in several places in Juliette’s bedroom at the Hôtel du Mont Blanc.