French Vivandieres and Cantinieres

French Vivandieres and Cantinieres

This painting depicts Catherine Baland, a vivandiere who was attached to the 95th Regiment of Infantry and was present at the Battle of Chiclana in 1811.
(Courtesy of Musee de Versailles)*

"The fille du regiment has ever been a popular character, for she affords a grateful and picturesque relief to the repulsive surroundings of the horrors of war . . . Her courage in war time frequently revived the drooping spirits of the soldiery, while her devotion in venturing under fire to administer relief to a wounded comrade stimulated them to further efforts."("The Graphic," July 17, 1875)

Original Uniforms

This uniform was worn by a cantiniere attached to the 8th Regiment of Infantry in 1860.
(Courtesy of Luce Ries)*

This modern photograph shows a collection of cantiniere kegs that were used in 1870. Notice how each one has been painted in a unique manner.
(Courtesy of Musee Napoleonien de Fontainebleau and Luce Ries)*

This uniform was worn by a cantiniere attached to an infantry regiment in 1870-1871.
(Courtesy of Musee de l'Armee, Paris)

This uniform was worn by a cantiniere attached to the 3rd Regiment of Artillery in 1875-1880.
(Courtesy of Luce Ries)*

Photographs of French Cantinieres

Mme Perrine Cros was a cantiniere attached to a battalion of chasseurs in the Imperial Guard. This photograph was taken in 1859. Notice that she is not wearing a shortened skirt like the other cantinieres.
(Courtesy of Captain Richard)*

This photograph, taken in 1860, shows a cantiniere offering a drink from her keg to a zouave officer.

Mme Clemence Mercurin was a cantiniere attached to the Grenadiers. This photograph was taken in 1865 when she was 32 years old.
(Courtesy of the book, Livre d'or des Cantinieres)*

Mme Pelloux was a cantiniere attached to a zouave regiment during the Second Empire. The photograph was taken between 1860 and 1870.
(Courtesy of the book, Livre d'or des Cantinieres)*

Here is a photograph of three cantinieres who were attached to the 2nd Regiment of Infantry in 1870. The only woman identified is the one on the right, Marie-Francoise Brehaut. She was 42 years old in this photograph, which shows that not all cantinieres were young women.*

This photograph of a company of soldiers belonging to the 10th Regiment of Infantry was taken in 1886 with their cantiniere standing in front.
(Courtesy of Musee Napoleonien de Fontainebleau)*

Miscellaneous Images of Vivandieres and Cantinieres

This image depicts a cantiniere, her husband, and their son sitting on the father's horse.
(Courtesy of the book, L'Armee francaise et ses cantinieres, published in 1859)*

This print comes from the July 17, 1875 issue of "The Graphic." It illustrates a few of the vivandieres from Spain, all who were attached to various regiments during the Spanish Civil War.
(Courtesy of the Webmaster's collection)

This illustration comes from the cover of the April 21, 1895 issue of "Le Petit Journal." It depicts actress, Mlle Delna, portraying a vivandiere in the comic opera, La Vivandiere.
(Courtesy of the Webmaster's collection)

This postcard shows a woman dressed as a zouave, c. 1898-1906.
For information on zouaves, check out The Zouave Database.
(Postcard courtesy of the Beth Atkins collection)

This postcard pictures a Red Cross nurse, a soldier, and a cantiniere working together to come to the aid of France, c. 1915
(Courtesy of the Webmaster's collection)

This postcard illustrates a cantiniere pouring a drink for two French soldiers in 1916.
(Courtesy of the Webmaster's collection)

*These images were reprinted in the May/June and July/August, 1982 issues of Uniformes: Les Armees de l'Histoire.

For more information on the history of vivandieres and cantinieres, check out
Civil War Vivandieres and Daughters of the Regiment.

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Copyright 2002 by Britta Arendt