Famous women: Marie Duplessis. Biography and photos

Marie Duplessis (photo below) is the famous French courtesan, to whom many poems and works are devoted. The most famous of them is "The Lady with the Camellias". The first Parisian beauty, the muse and beloved of Franz Liszt, as well as Alexandre Dumas son, she to this day amazes biographers both external and internal inconsistency with these scandalous titles. In Marie, there was no particle of all-conquering beauty from the priestess of love. A young, touching, almost disembodied nymph looked more like a sensitive grisette that desired not worship and passion, but participation, support and warmth. Unfortunately, none of this she received during her lifetime.

It should be noted that Marie Duplessis and Fanny Lear were the most talked about girls of that era. And this is not surprising, because the first to work courtesan, and the second was an American dancer and mistress of Prince Nikolai Romanov. Biography Fanny deserves a separate article, and below we will tell in detail the life story of Marie Duplessis. So, let's get started.


Marie Duplessis was born into a farmer's family in 1824. But she was not called when she was born. The real name of the girl is Alfonsina Plessi. Since childhood, fate has not spoiled it with its favors. The destiny of the future courtesan was a beggarly existence, a constant hunger, an empty house, a drunken father and an eternally weeping little sister. Mother Alfonsina almost did not remember, as she escaped from the house when the girl was not even five years old. But two things forever crashed into the memory of the future courtesan. She remembered the name of the mother (Marie) and that she promised to return for her. For the first years, Alfonsine was waiting for her every day. But then the news came to the village - Marie Plessis, who worked as a maid in a rich house, died of consumption.

First love

Now the girl had only one chance to avoid begging - marriage with a decent person, albeit a poor one. Such a thirteen-year-old Alfonsine was a guy from a neighboring farm. For the first time in her life the girl fell in love and fully trusted her chosen one, hoping for an early wedding. But the young man was in no hurry to get married. Having finished his fill, he not only left Alfonsin, but also exposed her as an accessible girl in front of the whole village. This crossed out the dream of the future courtesan of marriage. After all, no one in the district would go to get married to a "walker".

Occupation by prostitution

Maren Plessis (Alfonsina's father) secretly rejoiced at the "fall" of her daughter. Of course, she looked after her sister and led the farm, but was very fragile - no one would hire such a farm laborer to work. The family needed money: the father - for booze, and the sisters - for bread. Now no one needed and "fallen" Alfonsin could work only as a prostitute. According to Maren, it was for this exercise that God created women.

Learning what kind of "career" her father prepared for her, Alfonsina was very indignant. But Marin did not start the debate. He immediately sold his daughter to a local innkeeper to pay off the loan for wine. Then the girl had to "work out" a few more debts of his father. Realizing what awaits her in the future, Alfonsina fled to the capital of France. There she hoped to find decent work.


But the capital did not meet the girl with open arms. She was not taken to a saleswoman or a servant - after all, Alfonsine was only fourteen years old. In addition, she looked too fragile and incapable of any physical work. Alfonsina spent the night where she had to, starved and eventually returned to the craft of the courtesan.

True, the first incomes did not help her get out of poverty. After all, the clients of the night fairy were poor students who paid the girl a mere pittance. To search for rich fans, a decent "facade" was required - a well-groomed look and a good dress. But Alfonsine barely had enough money for food. In addition, it still hovered the hope that one of the young men can see in it not only the body, but also the person. But each time Alfonsina's expectations were not justified. The courtesan was convinced that men crave only pleasure from it.

Large fish

But with the assimilation of this bitter truth, fate gave the girl a chance to get out of poverty. Once Alfonsina was walking with her friend in Paris. Seeing the restaurant, the courtesans decided to go into it hoping to catch the "big fish". Usually there were few chances: the restaurateurs at once exhibited night fairies. They made an exception only for those who paid them a part of the proceeds. But now the host accepted courtesans very kindly. He treated the girls to a drink and at the end of the conversation asked Alfonsin to come to him tomorrow - one. Already seeing off, the restaurateur asked the girl's name. "Marie Duplessis" - introduced herself Alphonsina. She understood that the melodic and noble name would give her a mystery and charm. Suddenly the courtesan realized - from tomorrow she will have a comfortable life for her.

New boyfriend

Marie Duplessis was not mistaken. The restaurateur dressed the girl, rented her a home and enveloped her with such care that her legitimate wife did not dream of. But the courtesan quickly realized that she could get a lot more from life. Once, dressed in the latest fashion, Marie went to the opera. From there the girl left in the carriage of the first womanizer of the 1840s Count de Guiche.

The new boyfriend not only showered Duplessis with money, he also made the most luxurious lady of the capital out of her. Now Marie was dressed only by expensive tailors. She also did not deny herself jewelry, perfume, delicious food and flowers. To the latter the courtesan was very indifferent. In the chic Duplessi house, there were so many flowers that the guests had the impression that they were in a greenhouse. Also, Marie gladly boasted of rare plants from America and India. In her house were missing only roses - from their smell the girl was dizzy. But absolutely not smelling and modest camellias were in abundance. The courtesan commented on his passions very specific: "I love candied grapes, because it is tasteless, and camellia for lack of smell. I also love rich people for not having a heart. "

The appearance of patrons

Soon de Guiche was not enough money for the maintenance of such a luxurious woman. Therefore, he was forced to retire. Since then, patrons in the life of Marie began to change one after another. Part of this was facilitated by her hired colleague, who collected information about prospective clients and agreed with them on the content of Duplessis. In Paris, she had the most "high price tag". But the fans were just trying to push it. Philosophers, musicians, poets and artists often visited the Marie Duplessis' salon. The portrait of the girl was written by one of her guests - a talented painter named Eduard Vieno. He was very reliably able to convey on canvas the amazing Victorian beauty of the girl. Her glossy black hair, ivory skin, oval face and brilliant eyes delight even the modern sophisticated spectator.

It is worth noting that not all guests of the courtesan had the status of lovers. Some came just to talk: sincere, witty and sensitive Marie was considered an excellent companion and a fan of everything beautiful. At the same time, she was flaunting and romantic sadness.

Marie Duplessis and Dumas Jr.

But the courtesan did not chase after "secular trash" and passions. The girl wanted devotion, understanding and falling in love. She hoped that at least one of the boyfriends would see a man in her, and not an expensive trinket. As soon as the courtesan felt at least a hint of tenderness and sympathy, a hope appeared in her soul, which in most cases did not grow into something more. Therefore, Marie's romance with Alexander Dumas, Jr., and ended parting. The girl was very mistaken, taking his pity as a moralist for true love.

Dumas-son, or Ade (AD), as he called Duplessis, was the same age as a courtesan and not yet spoiled by a higher light. Besides, the writer was brought up only by his mother, so he knew better than the rest about the ruthlessness of public opinion towards women who had sinned. He genuinely admired Marie, was full of sympathy and understood that the girl is above her own destiny. That is, selling the body for money, she is very afflicted. And Dyuplessi believed in Ada's love, hoping for swift changes in her life.

End of the novel

But, alas, this time the courtesan also was illusory. Of course, Dumas, Jr. was sincerely enthusiastic about her. Nevertheless, the young man was not going to take care of Marie and become her "deliverer". Ada had neither the means nor the desire to bind his fate forever with some kind of courtesan. Instead, Dumas was jealous of the girl to wealthy admirers, appealed to her morality, and then left Paris altogether, having left for Spain.

After this, Marie Duplessis, whose photo can now be seen on the cover of the book "The Lady with the Camellias," plunged deeper into the abyss of pleasure. In fact, she could already "tie" with the profession and stay with only one fan, showering her money - Stackelberg. Especially since the latter needed only tenderness and attention - the Count crossed the eighth ten. But the courtesan no longer saw any reason to change her habitual way of life. So the girl could more sated to spend measured to it some months, in fact at it or her it was discovered incurable at that time consumption.

Recent interests

Before his death, Marie Duplessis, whose lifestyle discussion was then the main theme in many French salons, happened two novels - with Eduard de Perrego and Franz Liszt. Some people who confuse the courtesan with the mentioned in the beginning of the article Fanny Lear, mistakenly ascribe to her another intrigue - with the son of Emperor Nikolai Konstantinovich. In fact, Marie Duplessis and Prince Romanov have never met.

The last two passions of the courtesan ended unsuccessfully. With Edward de Perregaux it came to marriage. But soon Marie learned about his illegality in the territory of France. Duplessis considered this a mockery and parted with the count. And Ferenc Liszt left the courtesan immediately after the completion of his tour in the capital.


Marie Duplessis, whose biography was presented above, died in Paris in 1847. Last months the girl lived in poverty. She was also pursued by creditors. And numerous lovers left once the brightest courtesan of the capital. And who needs a consumptive and dying girl? But such a person was found. It was her "husband" Edward de Perrego. He prayed to Marie about forgiveness and meeting. But Duplesssey never agreed. The most cherished courtesan of Paris died in the hands of a maid. At the funeral of the girl came only two people: Edward de Perrego, bought a place in the cemetery, and settled with the creditors Count Stackelberg.

The news of the death of a former lover caught Dumas, Jr. in Spain. Arriving in Paris, he immediately went to the grave of Marie Duplessis. "Lady with Camellias" - this is exactly the novel, which was written "on fresh tracks" shocked young man. The work turned out to be lyrical and expressing sympathy for the fallen women. There was also a noble hero who had nothing in common with Dumas-son. Also there was a great love - sacrificial, romantic, like the one Duplessis had always dreamed of. But, unfortunately, she did not wait for her. The tragic life of "ladies with camellias" became a usual love story with sentiments and tears. Although ... Alfonsine, who took the name of Marie Duplessis, the novel probably would have liked.

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