Courtesans made their fortune and played a major role in social life between 1850 and 1910. Playing on their charms, they seduced artists and influential men and were offered splendid private mansions. This gigantic bed was commissioned by Émilie Valtesse de la Bigne, the famous “lioness” of the Second Empire. The writer Émile Zola drew inspiration from it to describe Nana’s bed. Alice Ozy, another Parisian demi-mondaine, is depicted in the foreground of an orgy at the Maison Dorée, printed as wallpaper, and Gustave Doré created the clock for her for the Temps fauchant les amours.

Part of the 19th-century galleries will be closed from 25 September to 30 November 2023 for renovation.

Follow us

Subscribe to our newsletter (in French)

You are…