The essay investigates the “status” of the female body in Europe in connection with its visibility in the public space of the 18th century. In this period, the expansion of the public sphere led to the development of a culture of sensibility that enabled people to live in a mixed-gender society. The urban culture of the 18th century welcomed female participation in the public sphere thanks to the growing need for exchanges between men and women. Nonetheless, there remained spaces that were monopolized by men or largely defined by exclusively male practices. Most European contexts, therefore, were marked by the coexistence of two distinct levels: there were mixed spaces but also public spaces reserved for men; this seems to take on different aspects and nuances depending on the national character and the particular construction of the male and female identities in local cultures at that time. The fact that women had access to cafés – the most prominent setting for the mingling of classes, the exchange of information and political debate – is revealing precisely of significant variations in the way in which the public sphere was constructed in relation to gender culture in the English, French and Venetian contexts.