Louise de La Vallière (1644-1710) was a young, unmarried lady-in-waiting to Louis XIV‘s sister-in-law (Princess Henriette of England, married to Louis’s brother) when she became Louis XIV’s mistress. She was known for her piety and her sincere love for the French king. They had five children; the only one to make it very long was daughter Marie Anne de Bourbon, who was legitimized as a Princess of the Blood and married the Prince de Conti. Louise later became the Duchess of La Vallière and Duchess of Vaujours in her own right. When Louis’s affections shifted to Madame de Montespan, Louise was forced to live with her (as a shield to their affair) and serve Montespan. In order to escape that situation, and because of her piety, she joined a Carmelite convent and spent the final decades of her life as a nun.
Let’s take a look at Louise on screen!
Count of Bragelonne (1954)
A sequel to The Three Musketeers story. Louise is played by Florence Arnaud.
Royal Affairs in Versailles (1954)
French director Sacha Guitry’s episodic look at key events in the history of Versailles. Gisèle Pascal plays Louise; she’s listed pretty far down in the credits, and it was hard to find this image, so I don’t think she plays much of a role.
The Taking of Power by Louis XIV (1966)
A French TV film about Louis XIV’s rise to power. Françoise Ponty plays Louise.
La quête du bonheur: De Voltaire à Paul Claudel (1969)
A filmed French theater production, but I can’t really tell what it’s about. Bérangère Dautun plays Louise.
Molière pour rire et pour pleurer: L’Affaire Tartuffe (1973)
A French mini-series about playwright Molière. This episode focuses on his play Tartuffe, with Laurence de Monaghan as Louise.
Le Chateau perdu (1973)
Based on the story of Louise XIV’s punishment of a rebel, the baron de Fargues. Louise is played by Claude Jade.
The Man in the Iron Mask (1977)
English actress Jenny Agutter plays Louise to Richard Chamberlain’s Louis XIV in this adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas story.
The Fifth Musketeer (1979)
A sequel to Dumas’s The Man in the Iron Mask. It’s clearly meant to be swashbuckling fun, as Ursula Andress plays Louise.
The Face of Alexandre Dumas: The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
This appears to be a low budget version that came out the same year as the Leonardo di Caprio feature film. Dana Barron plays Louise.
Although Uma Thurman plays the main, fictionalized mistress in this film about a chef at Versailles, Louise de la Vallière is there in the background — played by Emilie Ohana.
Versailles: The Dream of a King (2008)
A docudrama about Louis XIV and Versailles. Laura Weissbecker plays Louise.
The King, the Squirrel and the Grass Snake (2010)
A French miniseries about Nicolas Fouquet, who was Louis XIV’s Superintendant of Finances … and imprisoned for the final decades of his life.
The recent big budget TV series included Louise in season one, where she was played by Sarah Winter.
Who’s your favorite Louise de la Vallière?