Aristocratic Women and the Practice
of Religion in Napoleonic France

Maureen MacLeod

The traditional religious revival in France is seen as occurring during the Bourbon Restoration. This religious revival maintains its hold throughout the majority of the nineteenth century and helps to initiate this idea that historians have coined as the new domesticity. However, religion did not suddenly reappear and this paper seeks to discuss the question of what occurred with the religious practice of aristocratic women between the end of the French Revolution and the Bourbon Restoration in 1815. When the Concordat with Rome was signed the practice of religion was welcomed and dominated by women who thus became the protectors of religion by integrating it into the home. This paper will examine the practice of religion by aristocratic women of Napoleonic France and what inspired them to embrace religion so quickly after a decade of religious turmoil during the rule of the French revolutionary governments.