King Francois Ier in Manosque and Madeleine Voland's terrible gesture

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Saunerie gate, Manosque - ©Calips / CC-BY-SA Saunerie gate, Manosque - ©Calips / CC-BY-SA
Manosque fortified gates Fortification François I Legend

The tradition says that the Saunerie gate was raised to celebrate king of France François Ier’s visit in Manosque, in 1516! Oh, since we’re talking about him, here’s a legend... The king was coming back from Marignan, Italy, where he won the battle. We were in January 1516, he passed by Manosque.

Here, he met the consul Antoine Voland, who invited him to his house. It was a big party. A huge cortege formed in the streets, to celebrate the winner. And among this crowd, we had Voland’s daughter, Madeleine. A very pretty young girl, elected to hand over the city’s keys, according to the tradition.

King François was a ladies’ man, OK, we know that. But here, it was pretty embarrassing! He starred at her and stuck to her like glue during the party... Oh, the poor girl had enough. So she left the party and returned home, in her bedroom. Hey, it was... harassing! So she went mad: Madeleine decided to disfigure herself.

Like that the king would be disgusted... She scratched her face with her nails, but it wasn’t enough. So she burnt sulphur and leaned her face above the toxic vapours. Yes, really, she did it...

And it was radical: Madeleine appeared the next day, completely deformed and ugly. Whoa, a shock! François Ier was pretty embarrassed: he gave a dowry to the young girl and let a nickname to Manosque city: the Modest (la Pudique in French).


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