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"One dreams of sojourning in the midst of her plunging neckline. Do not ask this poor soul which play she was starring in. Very little seems important when her dainty figure finally makes its appearance on the Théatre de l'Ambigu-Comique's stage."
―The Journal de Paris on Montansier, 1791.[src]

Marguerite Brunet (1730 – 1820), better known under her stage name Mademoiselle Montansier, was an actress and theater director living in Paris during the French Revolution.


Born in Bayonne, Montansier joined an acting troupe in her early teens and managed to work her way up the social ladder, eventually becoming the director of a theater in Versailles. She later moved to Paris, where the revolutionaries continued gaining traction. At the time, the city was home to 237 theaters, all of which continued to thrive, even during the Reign of Terror.[1]

Montansier subsequently became known as the "Ribaude du Palais-Royal", or Trollop of the Palais-Royal. Her financial success only increased when she opened up two theaters, which played to full houses. Montansier's wealth caused people to grow envious of her, however, and she was later accused of espionage and receiving money from the English.[1]

In truth, Montansier was in contact with the Black Office, one of France's secret services, and oversaw a group of "actresses" that had liaisons with powerful people; any information learned during these trysts would be sent back to Montansier, who kept the data in her diary. The Assassin Arno Dorian stole the diary on the request of Pierre Beaumarchais, who intended to use the secrets to influence the course of the Revolution.[2]

On 14 November 1793, Montansier was imprisoned, yet she was declared innocent and released ten months later. After Maximilien de Robespierre died, she resumed her career and would live to the age of 89.[1]



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