Nothing is less reasonable as to want than the children be like !
sic. Madam de Maintenon
The school of Saint-Cyr was her great consolation, the most beautiful work
of her life. She could realize, thanks to the benevolence of Louis the XIVth her
desire to accomodate and educate poor girls of the nobility, to form them with
the marriage and their nearest life in the world. Nothing in the kingdom were
then neglected more than education of the young girls.
The school of Saint-Cyr
opened its doors in July 1686. More than 3100 girls will be raise with
the expenses of the State. The boarders were allowed between 7 and 10 years;
they left there at 20 years age old with a dowry 3000 pounds.
In 1568 Albert de Gondi,
adviser of the Queen Catherine de Médicis acquired the village of
Noisy-le-Roi and its surroundings. He decided to build a castle to the edge of
the forest. During the next century, with the visits of the famous members of
the royal family, the village and its castle became the anteroom of French
In 1686 Louis the XIVth gave at the disposal of Madam de Maintenon the
castle in intend to establish lodge of a boarding school for the poor girls of
the nobility. The Royal House for the education of the girls was so born.
Hundred pupils lived there. A few years later, after Noisy-le-Roi, the school
was transferred in Saint-Cyr a small city close to Versailles.
Saint-Cyr l'école village was founded by a colony of Christians,
established near the place where Cyr, a young martyr under Dioclétien, were
sacrified. As remembering they took the name of the holly man.
The first representation of Esther, tragedy wrote by Racine at the request
of Madam de Maintenon, took place at Saint-Cyr school in 1689 in the presence of
Louis XIVth. The private representations were reserved for a small number of
elected officials among others Madam de Sévigné. Here is what
Madam de La Fayette writes in her memories: "Mrs. de Maintenon to divert
her young girls and the king, ordered a comedy to Racine, the best poet of time,
which he drew.us.m his poetry where he was inimitable, to write some, for his
misfortune and also of those which have the taste of the theatre, a quite
A quotation of Madam de Maintenon is worth to be mentioned; she
has been able to say while coming for the first time to Cyr saint: "What
pleases to me, it is that I see here my retirement and my tomb."
On this institution Paul Verlaine wrote: "When Maintenon threw on
charmed France the soft shade and the peace of her caps of flax..."
Lastly, on the epitaph composed by Vertot the Abbot one could read "her
body rest in this house, which she has gotten the establishment. she left to
the Universe the example of its virtues."