In 1655, Marie-Catherine Desjardins came to Paris, where her mother served in the household of the duchesse de Rohan-Montbazon. She began writing and her work was admired by many, including King Louis XIV, who gave her a royal pension. She had a long love affair with the aristocrat Antoine de Villedieu and after he was killed in 1667, she signed her work Madame de Villedieu. She married Claude-Nicolas de Chaste, sieur de Chalon, in about 1676 and the couple had one child. Madame de Villedieu was a prolific and bestselling author, and with Mademoiselle de Scudéry, one of the best-paid women writers of the 17th century. She helped launch the genre of historical novels. Her best-known work is the fictional Mémoires de la vie d'Henriette-Sylvie de Molière, which reveals much about the life of a young woman in French society of the period. She also wrote three successful plays including Manlius Torquatus (1662), which made her the first woman to have a play professionally produced in France. She retired to her family's manor of Clinchemore near Alençon, where she died at about age 43.