The Four Times of the Day


The salon would have remained dark and quiet well into the day. But the working class did not have the luxury of sleeping in. Starting at sunrise, the streets outside this room would have hummed with activity: church bells sounding the hour, carts rattling over cobblestones to commercial and manufacturing areas, animals being taken to market.  this room would have remained quiet well into the day.


Late in the morning, the master of the hôtel would have emerged to receive company in this room. Armchairs or sofas would have lined the walls, with smaller chairs brought into the center of the room to accommodate guests as they ebbed and flowed. Men offered women their seats when places were limited, and the highest-ranked ladies sat closest to the fire during winter.
Generous hosts would invite guests in the salon to stay for luncheon. Neither food nor drink were typically served in the grand salon, so guests were led into an adjacent dining room, where servants set up a luxe spread.


When lunch was finished, guests split up to visit other fashionable homes throughout Paris, promenade in the city center, or attend the theater. Those who remained in the salon played card games, read, or enjoy a small concert, each activity demanding a different furniture arrangement.


It was not uncommon for elites to host suppers as late as 9 o'clock before attending a ball or masquerade. And the party didn't always stop there: As long as there were candles to burn, the salon could adapt once more to receive spent party-goers as they collapsed into sofas and burned the midnight oil.

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