Where and When Does “Cinderella” Take Place?

The “Cinderella” story generally takes place in the late 17th century, starting at the family’s modest country home with a ball taking place at a king’s city palace. With over 500 versions of the story in Europe alone, the exact setting varies greatly across cultures. Charles Perrault’s version, perhaps the best known, takes place in 17th century France.

Perrault’s “Cinderella” is a more modern version of the Chinese tale “Yeh-Shen,” written in the 9th Century. Each culture adopts the down-trodden heroine as their own, so the story might take place in Africa, Korea or even the British Isles, to make the underlying themes more relatable across cultures.

Some versions bear little resemblance to the classic Perrault story. The Native American story by the Mi’kmaq tribe, “Cinderella and the Invisible One,” for example, is set in an Indian village near a lake, and the Cinderella character has a badly burned face. In the Brothers Grimm tale, “Aschenputtel,” Cinderella lives in Germany and spends much of her time crying over her deceased mother’s grave before attending a 3-day festival at the king’s palace.