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THE ELYSEE

The Elysee Palace, residence to the President of the French Republic, has a long history.

It was first built by the marquis de Marigny, brother of the all-powerful mistress of Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour.

I do not know by what turn of events but, during the Revolution it belonged to the Princess of Orleans, sister of Philippe Egalité and duchess of Bourbon. She survived the Terror and, under the Directory, not only kept her life but also her claim on the property.

However, she did not have one cent to maintain it, her fortune having been seized by the revolutionaries. And so, she had no choice but to transform it into a place of nightly pleasures. It was the ancestor of the nightclub. There would be dancing, there would be music. It was the time when the bastringue first gained popularity.

People would bang on metal barrels, would raise a ruckus, would laugh, would drink and also would sleep together. After so many years of terror, oppression, anxiety, people were eager to divert themselves, and rightly so. And divert themselves they did and everyone slept with anyone. The Elysee soon acquired the reputation of being a whorehouse in everything but name. And thanks to the revenues from this interesting business, the duchess of Bourbon survived.

Even if it was ephemeral, it was a curious destination for the residence of so many respectable presidents of the republic.


by Prince Michael of Greece

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