Starting from an analysis of the Galardi’s Traité politique touchant les ambassades, the essay examines the role and the value assigned to the diplomatic ceremonial in the texts on ambassadors of the late seventeenth century. Authors such as Wicquefort and others share a vision of ceremonial as a map of signs and symbols delegated to represent sovereignty and to guide the action of diplomatic representatives. But some texts advance a first criticism of the excessive formalism of the diplomacy: the ceremonial becomes the object of analysis and is perceived, either veiled or explicitly, as a set of rules that can conflict with ambassador’s personal abilities and hinder the success of the negotiations. This is a sort of detachment from the manners and languages of the "baroque diplomacy", which prelude to the tight criticism of the Ancient regime diplomacy elaborated in the season of Enlightenment.
Keywords: Diplomacy; Ambassadors; Diplomacy ceremonial; Art of negotiating; Writings on ambassadors.