Athenais-The Real Queen of France Author:Lisa Hilton More striking than her looks was the famous "esprit Montemart" Esprit can mean mind, wit, intellect, spirit, but something which is essentially a combination of all these, the whole talent and energy with which one appraoches the world. Athenais honed her esprit in the Paris salons. It was here that Francoise de Rochechouart abandoned her baptis... more »mal name and became Athenais, a name she picked for herself and which suited her much better. Given her later career, the name of the Greek goddess of virginity was an amusing choice, but perhaps even at this stage a very knowing one. Athena the defiant virgin would accept no mortal suitor. In so naming herself, Athenais was conjuring a powerfully symbolic image...It was a name that emphasized her uniqueness, a name to give her currage, and to invite challenge.