Which king of France was nicknamed "Louis of the oysters"?

Which king of France was nicknamed "Louis of the oysters"?

The oyster, a vital delight for a monarch with the physique of a large mollusk.

A good-natured, sixty-year-old head of state with an extraordinary appetite, considered by some to be the king of turning back the clock.

Brother of a decapitated king, Louis XVIII, born Louis-Stanislas, count of Provence, then king of France for a serene reign, described by Victor Hugo in “Les Misérables”: “This impotent king had the taste of the great gallop ”.

It was at a gallop that in Flanders, during the Hundred Days, this king of France eats oysters galore.

Momentarily driven out in 1815, he found asylum in Ghent. And exile fits him like a glove, in this northern city located at the confluence of the Lys and the Scheldt ... as long as he finds oysters there!

Louis moved to the center of Ghent on March 30, 1815 with his friend Count Jean-Baptiste d´Hane de Steenhuyse, Chamberlain of the King of the Netherlands.

The day of his arrival, he dines at 6 p.m. and swallows a hearty meal. He is then served "a hundred oysters", eliciting the admiration of onlookers who congregate, as the dining room, located on the ground floor, is visible from the street.

The anecdote is told in a document kept in Belgium.

On March 30, 1815, we find the sentence “Hij Z.M. van zeer gœden appetijt, naer andere spijzen geheeten te hebben, slœg hij nog een honderd hœsters binnen ”which can be translated as“ His Majesty had a good appetite, because after eating a few dishes, he had a hundred oysters ” .

The Belgians quickly nicknamed the French sovereign “Louis des oytres”.

This nickname will sometimes be distorted into "Louis dix oytres". In some English texts, the king is called "Oyster Louis".

Back in France, Louis continues to bring happiness and fortune to the shellfish industry and to swallow plankton eaters without counting.

It is true that after the disappearance of the saltwater salt in 1790, oyster farming developed in France, with some salt marshes being transformed into clear ones.

Part of the population then nicknamed this disciple of Epicurus with the plump belly "Pig XVIII".

But the wholesalers, whether royalists, ultras or moderates, Bonapartists, republicans or neutrals, can only mourn the disappearance of the man who, for oyster producers, was unquestionably a pearl.