Marie Antoinette's chief lady-in-waiting, Laure-Auguste de Fitz-James, the Princesse de Chimay, kept a monkey as a pet. On fine days, the princesse enjoyed parading her monkey through the gardens at Versailles. Wearing a tiny suit, he would scamper about, delighting visitors with his silly antics. Some say the monkey enjoyed more popularity that his mistress.
The princesse was not the only aristocrat in 18th century France to nurture a passion for the exotic. Parrots, lions, tigers, ocelots, capuchin monkeys, elephants, white peacocks, and leopards were owned by various members of the aristocracy, who would pay to have the creatures brought from Africa, India, or South America.
ShareThe naturalist, scientist, and cosmologist, Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte of Buffon, was fascinated with exotic creatures and kept a beautiful green parrot as a pet. Parrots were an extremely popular pet choice for men and women. (Read more.)