Marion Delorme, a French courtesan, born near Chalons-sur-Marne about 1612, died in Paris in 1650. She was the daughter of a tradesman, and received little if any education. Endowed with extraordinary personal attractions, and with intelligence and wit equalled only by the recklessness and frivolity of her disposition, she captivated as soon as she came to Paris the hearts of many of the most brilliant gentlemen of the French court. Among her most devoted admirers was the marquis de Cinq-Mars, who was on the point of marrying her privately in order to put an end to the attentions paid to her by Richelieu, when this occasion is said to have suggested to the cardinal his law prohibiting secret marriages, the effect of which was to separate the lovers and to make Marion yield herself to the powerful minister. Her house soon became a centre for the most distinguished people. She shared her empire with Mnon de l'Enclos, who, however, was greatly her superior in mental culture, and who survived her half a century. Her favors were extended successively or simultaneously to the learned Saint-Evremond, the brilliant duke of Buckingham, and many other more or less eminent men.
During the minority of Louis XIV. she took an active interest in the movements of the Fronde. Her social circle, once the fashionable resort of the wits and roues of Paris, now became a focus of politicians and conspirators. In June, 1650, Mazarin ordered her arrest, but she died just before the officers came to take her to prison. Reports of her having only simulated death, to make good her escape, and other romantic stories in regard to her, were rife at the time, and have since been repeated, although they are not authenticated by facts.