Fumoir (smoking room)

Gender and social class

Gender stereotypes: public / domestic

In the 19th century, the residences of the aristocracy and upper bourgeoisie would often contain a fumoir, a room exclusively for male use. Its origins are linked to British style clubs, a space where men would meet to smoke, talk business, play or relax.

This division between the male and female spheres was a reflection of society. Women were legally dependent on a guardian and did not have access to the same education as men, as their joining the working world was a question of need or preparation for their role as wife.