Great Lovers

Throughout history there have been many great lovers!   Many of these lotharios are men of nobility and royalty.   Today I want to look at some of the most famous.   I have chosen three lovers that exemplify the great romance and sexual awakening of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Europe!

The three lovers I will explore are Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Giacomo Casanova!   Louis XIV was king of France for an incredible 72 years!    Louis XV was his successor, and great grandson, and would rule over 50 years.   Casanova is so synonymous with love that his name has become a nickname for all male lovers, especially those that are voracious in their sexual appetites!

Two of these men are French Kings, and the other is a Venetian man, and though he was not of noble birth he became well educated and a high standing member of Venetian society.   Two of these men, Louis XIV and Casanova, were interested in many things besides sexual conquest.   

Louis XIV was interested in architecture and making Versailles his ideal palace, and a place to exemplify the power of France.   He waged wars, especially competing with William of Orange (who became King of England when he married Mary).   It is thanks to Louis XIV that we see France as an artistic and cultural capital.   He brought France to being a fashion capital, he encouraged ballet and music, and he was the ultimate taste maker of his time!

Casanova was a consummate traveller, a scholar, a writer, a priest, a spy, and an actor!    His history is so varied that many forget how much he contributed to the world!   Casanova actually spent time at the French court, and preferred the French language to his native Italian!

Louis XV was really a lover above everything, and did not care much for statecraft.    He preferred to spend his time in bed and in the company of his many mistresses, and not in meetings or actually ruling his country!    He did not heed his great-grandfather’s advice to keep his lovers separate from his political business.   Louis XV even went so far as to allow Madame de Pompadour to help to rule the country!

In some ways we know each of these men for their lovers more than for themselves!   The lovers, or their reputation for sexually voracious appetites, is something that we will forever remember them for!

For Casanova his greatest love is believed to be Henriette, whom he met in 1749.    This may very well have been the one time that Casanova got his heart truly broken.   For Louis XIV there were three official mistresses.    The first of which was Louise de La Vallière, who he left when he fell in love with his most famous maîtresse-en-titre, the Marquise de Montespan.   Montespan was even given the nickname “The Real Queen of France.”   His final official mistress was Madame de Maintenon, who had formerly been the governess of his children.    He would marry Maintenon after his queen died, but their marriage was kept a secret in his lifetime!   Finally the two most important lovers of Louis XV were Marquise de Pompadour and the Duchess du Barry!

I hope that this post helped to give you some insight into the lives and loves of these famous lovers! For more information take a look at the further reading and watching section!  Let me know your thoughts in the comment section!

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is The entrance (of Versailles) in 1668 during the first reconstruction (painting by Pierre Patel).   I found the image on

Further Reading/Watching

  • Casanova: Actor Lover Priest Spy by Ian Kelly
  • Athenais: The Real Queen of France by Lisa Hilton
  • Madame de Pompadour by Nancy Mitford
  • Madame du Barry: The Wages of Beauty by Joan Haslip
  • Casanova (2005)
  • Versailles (2015-2018)
  • Marie Antoinette (2006)