Ninon de Lenclos was born Anne de Lenclos to a middle-class family in the Marais district of Paris, and nicknamed "Ninon" by her father, whom she adored. She grew up to become a successful courtesan, with a succession of noble and wealthy lovers -- including the King's cousin, Louis de Bourbon, le Grand Condé -- as well as a celebrated wit and the center of a lively nonconfirmist literary circle. Her salon in the rue des Tournelles became one of the most famous in 17th-century France. In 1659, she wrote La coquette vengée (The Flirt Avenged) in which she defended the morally good life without religion. After her retirement from life as a courtesan, she opened a school teaching the arts of love to the sons of the aristocracy, with a special emphasis on pleasing women.