The image of Louis XIV and his court overshadow our understanding of
eighteenth-century France. Rethinking the court society is a vital part of
revising our interpretations of absolutist government in this period: a new
understanding of royal ceremony is one part of this. This chapter challenges
the neo-ceremonialist understanding of French royal ritual in the light of
French scholarship questioning the relevance of the 'two bodies'
model to the French monarchy and highlighting Marc Bloch's idea of
'marvellous royalty'. The relationship between ceremony and power
lies at the heart of these questions.