Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Bon Anniversaire Wolfgang
It's Mozart's birthday today and though he was Austrian, not French, he's got both a street named after him here and this nice plaque placed in the courtyard of the Hôtel de Beauvais on rue François Miron in the Marais. It commemorates his first sojourn in Paris (for a period of five months) at the age of seven as the guest of the Bavarian ambassador.
The building's history is a bit spicier; it was a gift of Anne of Austria, queen of France, to one of her ladies in waiting, Catherine Bellier, who apparently introduced the young Louis XIV to the ways of the world (if you get my drift). Mme. Bellier was not much of a looker but she seems to have gotten the Sun King off to a good start. Antonia Fraser's terrific book, Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King, has all the details on his relationship with his mother, wife, and multiple mistresses. On a cold day, it would go nicely with the Mozart flute quartets and a cup of schokolade mit schlag.