By 'THE FRANCE of Louis XIV' historians often really mean the court of Louis XIV The King felt that his own court ought to mimic that of the heavens - a multitude of stars, with him, 'le Roi-Soleil', at its centre. The royal court, whether it was travelling or stationary, was at the heart of government. It was at court that the life of the King unfolded. It was the only life he knew.
Anne Somerset introduces us to the court as it was seen by Madame de Sevigne in July 1676. France was at war with the Dutch and with other powers, but the King was taking his summer holiday at Versailles. A succession of entertainments had been organised and the courtiers enthusiastically