Françoise d'Issembourg d'Happoncourt was born in the province of Lorraine. In 1712, she married François Huguet, chamberlain to the Duke of Lorraine, and the couple took the surname de Graffigny from their new estate. They had three children but the marriage was unhappy. Madame de Graffigny obtained a legal separation from her husband, who died in 1725. She got a job as companion to an aristocrat and in 1738, they were invited to stay at the Château de Cirey, the home of Émilie du Châtelet and Voltaire. She wrote letters during this period that were published many years later. She then moved to Paris, where she hosted a salon that included the leading literary and artistic figures of the day. Her epistolary novel "Lettres d'une Péruvienne," published in 1747, made her a celebrity in her own right.