The reign of Louis xv is renowned for its remarkable freedom in the domain of love. This was a period that saw the rise of the libertine novel, while the visual arts reflected a widespread eroticism. Rameau’s music also gives authors a glimpse of this era, and several contemporary writers have drawn attention to the erotic atmosphere that envelops his operas. More recently, the musicologist Cuthbert Girdlestone pointed to the overtly sexual connotations of one specific dance scene in the original 1739 version of Rameau’s Dardanus – an Air tendre significantly entitled ‘Calme des sens’. It may seem strange to consider that Rameau was playing around with sexual metaphors and searching for their precise musical translation. During the seventeenth century, the philosopher Pierre Gassendi was chiefly responsible for a revival of Epicureanism, in which happiness was sought through the negation of pain and the accumulation of pleasure.