Roger de Rabutin, Comte de Bussy, commonly known as Bussy-Rabutin, was a cousin of Madame de Sévigné. He entered the army at the age of 16 and fought in several campaigns, including the 1634 siege of La Mothe-en-Bassigny in Lorraine. In 1641 he was sent to the Bastille by Cardinal Richelieu for some months. After his first wife died in 1646, he became more notorious than ever through an attempt to abduct a rich widow. During the French civil wars known as the Fronde, Bussy fought on the royal side. In 1659 he fell into disgrace for having taken part in an orgy during Holy Week, which caused great scandal. He was ordered to retire to his estates in the country and there he whiled away his enforced leisure by composing his famous "Histoire amoureuse des Gaules" in 1660 for the amusement of his mistress, Madame de Montglas. This book, a series of witty but ill-natured portraits and accounts (partly true and partly invented) of the intrigues of the chief ladies of the court, circulated freely in manuscript and had numerous spurious sequels. In a letter of apology and explanation to King Louis XIV, Bussy-Rabutin claimed that a false friend had asked to borrow the manuscript and altered it without his knowledge. The king was not appeased and Bussy-Rabutin was sent in April 1665 to the Bastille, where he remained for more than a year. He was only freed on condition of again retiring to his country estates, where he lived in exile for the next 17 years. In 1682 he was allowed to revisit the court, but the coldness of his reception there made exile seem preferable and he returned to Burgundy, where he died.
He was elected to the Académie française in 1665.