Helvétius, Anne-Catherine de Ligniville d’Autricourt (1719-1800)

Patroness of the arts and sciences. Niece of Madame de Graffigny, with whom she lived in Paris.

Settled in Auteuil (next to Passy) after the death of her husband (1771) . Franklin often visited her there and soon became a member of the Auteuil circle.

She was one of the centers of Franklin’s social life during his years in France, and the two formed a very close relationship. She was the inspiration for his famous Bagatelle on the Elysian Fields (1780).

Diderot, d’Alembert, the Baron d’Holbach, Condorcet, Turgot, Raynal, and Morellet all frequented her Parisian home on the rue Sainte Anne.

Born in Ligniville. Married in 1751 to Claude-Adrien Helvétius, Farmer-General and philosopher.