A salonniere is a party host. The term was first used to describe the women in 17th and 18th century France who hosted parties—called salons—in their homes to celebrate and promote the most important writers, philosophers, and artists of the day. Highly influential, the salonnieres, who included Madame Pompadour, among others, would select the topics to be discussed at their parties, determine the list of thinkers, politicians, aristocrats, and other influencers who would be invited to attend, and artfully lead the discussion.

Madame de Pompadour

As a result of their reach and influence, salonnieres were agents of change, and their salons are credited with fostering the modern concepts of liberty, democracy, and equality. As Sir Peter Courtney Quennell, an English writer and literary historian, wrote in Affairs of the Mind: The Salon in Europe and America from the Eighteenth to Twentieth Century, “Between conversation and civilization, the art of talk and the art of living, there has always been a vital link.”

Becca Cason Thrash

Today’s top salonnieres host parties with the same passion, style, and influence as their French forbears. Whether their entertaining style is formal or informal, they serve a vital role in their community by connecting people, facilitating discussions, and promoting joy.

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A scene from Auntie Mame, 1958

The Salonniere exists to honor the tradition of the French salonniere, celebrate the contributions of our modern salonnieres, and encourage more people to embrace the art of entertaining. Entertaining friends and family is easy and fun, and connecting people and bringing joy to others has never been more important.