Jean Forestier and Julienne Coiffé.

The Coiffé Family.

Julienne Coiffé was the daughter of the baker André Coiffé and Jeanne Dugast (daughter of Nicolas Dugast). She was born about 1616 in Nantes near the Pont-Rousseau over the Sévres River. Her family crossed that bridge, the starting point for the road to La Rochelle when they relocated. This move likely occurred after the 1627-28 siege had decimated the population of that important Atlantic port.

Julienne contracted to marry before the notary Combault on 14 September 1636. Her intended was Jean Forestier. Julienne's grandfather Nicolas Dugast and uncles Mathurin and Martin, of Nantes, stood for her. The religious ceremony was officiated by Jacques Tillmart, prior and parish priest of Perigny but took place on 28 October 1636 in chapelle Ste-Marguerite. Many of the Catholic churches in La Rochelle had been dismantled under Protestant rule, the stone used to fortify the city walls. The chapel and former convent was one of the few left standing and until about 1630 served both denominations.

Julienne's mother Jeanne Dugast, 49, died 13 April 1647 and was buried from the chapelle Ste-Marguerite. Jeanne's widowed husband remarried Élisabeth Rosturier. They would have two sons born in La Rochelle: André, a carpenter, married Suzanne Normandin on 8 Jan 1680 and Jacques-Hyacinthe Coiffé, who entered the Dominican religious order. André Coiffé, Julienne's father, was 83 when he died and was buried on 28 January 1675 in the St-Barthélémy parish.


"By an excess of delicacy here, we give stew, we sell there, to please the taste, very strong merchandise... Each one works there in turn, each one puts his hand in the paste; One makes paste and the other puts them in the oven... For money we give everyone macarons, light flan with butter and egg, various cakes, browned biscuits and small cabbage... This shop has delicacies that in a thousand ways charm girls, little boys, maids and nannies"

Jean Forestier of Saint-Jean-d'Angély, Saintonge, was the son of André-Berthommé Forestier and Françoise Richard. He may have apprenticed under his father-in-law André Coiffé, and in time became a mâitre Pâtissier et Cuisinier (master pastry chef and cook). By 1650 he ran an inn on la Grande Rue at the Grand Boucheries. As a "master" he had a shop and employed others in the trade.

Pastry shops of the period produced an airy meringue-based confection like macarons, and with the right mix of butter, flour and eggs, a luscious puff pastry, pâte à choux. The tins Jean used for baking were fashioned in artful shapes and the molds added interesting raised contours to the cake sides and tops.

Our ancestor Catherine Forestier was baptized in the chapelle Ste-Marguerite in La Rochelle on 6 January 1640. (Her parents seemed to like the name as they confer it on two more of their daughters). The sponsors at the baptisms of their children included several well-placed citizens.

Catherine was 10 when she lost her mother. Julienne's death on 20 April 1650 was recorded in Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes, a church near the salt marshes of La Rochelle. After her father Jean married Marie Mallet Catherine did not linger in France much longer. At age 17 she set sail to Québec.