Paris 1610-1643 PDF Print E-mail

The History of Paris – Architecture, Urbanism, Society - Part 2:

Paris under the Bourbons, Henri IV and Louis XIII, 1589-1643

Course Schedule:  Fridays 10:30 am – 12:00 noon.


Remaining sessions:
11 June - Visit - Baroque painting and the Royal Louvre – Musée du Louvre. Meet by information desk beneath Pyramid with ticket in hand at 10:15 am. Métro: Palais-Royal Louvre.

18 June - Visit - The Marais and the Ile Saint-Louis. Meet exit of métro St Paul (line 1) on rue St Antoine.

23 June -Wednesday 2pm - 3:30pm - The Church and Convent of The Val de Grâce. Meet opposite courtyard of the convent on rue St Jacques (at intersection of rue du Val de Grace). Metro: RER Port Royal (line B). Please bring 5 € for group ticket.



Anthony Blunt, Art and Architecture in France 1500-1700, Pelican History of Art, Penguin (latest edition).

Anthony Sutcliffe, Paris, an Architectural History, Yale University Press, 1993.

Colin Jones, Paris, Biography of a City, Penguin.


Louis XIII (1601-1643) Reign: 1610 - 1643


1600 – Henri IV marries Marie de Medici daughter of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

1601 – Birth on 27 September in Fontainebleau of a son and Dauphin named Louis.

1602 – Birth of a daughter, Elisabeth, future wife of Philip IV of Spain.

1608 – Birth of a third son of Henri and Marie (a second son Nicolas will die in 1611) named Gaston.

1610 – On 14 May a fanatic Catholic, Ravaillac, knifes and kills Henri IV in his carriage. Louis XIII, his eldest son, is King

at the age of 9. Brought up surrounded by numerous brothers and sisters both legitimate and illegitimate (10) Louis is a cold and snobbish child conscious of his own superiority. The Regency is assumed by his mother Marie de Medici.

1614 – The King is officially adult at the age of 13. The country is governed by his mother’s favorite minister Concini.

1615 – Marriage of Louis with the Spanish princess Anne of Austria. Louis will wait for 4 years before consuming the marriage.

1617 – He is quicker in deciding to rebel against his mother’s authority and her ministers. Concini is assassinated in the Louvre. Marie and her ministers flee to Blois and raise a rebel army. Luynes is named as new prime minister.

1620 – The rebel army is defeated near Angers at Pont-de-Cé. The Béarn and Navarre are united to the French kingdom and the Catholic faith imposed leading to the wrath of the native Protestants.

1621 – Louis lays siege unsuccessfully to rebellious Montauban. Luynes dies after a short illness.

1622 – Louis is forced to compromise and re-instate the edict of Nantes (of Protestant toleration).

1624 – Louis tries out a new prime minister, cardinal Richelieu, who will restore royal prestige and an efficient government of the kingdom.

1628 – One of the main Protestant bastions, the port of La Rochelle who had dared call the English for help, is taken.

1629 – Freedom of worship is reaffirmed but the Protestants loose all political privileges and their fortified bastions.

1630 – As head of the Catholic party in court Marie de Medici plots against Richelieu and his policy of toleration. Thinking she has persuaded Louis to fire his Prime Minister she rejoices with her followers at the Palais du Luxembourg. This is the “journée des dupes”. The same day Louis confirms his confidence in Richelieu and Marie is exiled to Flanders.

1631 – Richelieu founds the first official newspaper as an instrument of state propaganda, La Gazette.

1634 – France occupies the independent duchy of Lorraine on her eastern border.

1635 – Richelieu in his attempt to regularize the French language and garner support among writers and intellectuals founds the Académie française. Beginning of war with Spain in the Low Countries.

1638 – After 22 years of marriage Anne is at last pregnant. Thanking heaven for this miracle Louis officially consecrates his Kingdom to the Holy Virgin. The day of the Assumption, 15 August, becomes the official French holy day. Louis-Dieudonné, future Louis XIV, is born on 5 September.

1639 – A rebellion against heavy new taxes is violently repressed in Normandy.

1640 – Arras is taken from the Spanish consolidating the northern frontier. Anne gives birth to a second son, Philippe.

1642 – Another anti-royal plot hatched in court and as always involving the King’s younger brother Gaston d’Orléans, is revealed, leading to the execution of the King’s favorite Cinq-Mars.  Richelieu dies of exhaustion.

1643 – Brilliant French victory against the Spanish in Rocroi. Death of Louis XIII. The kingdom has been much extended but the interior political situation remains fragile and uncertain.


Paris architecture under Louis XIII:


Louis XIII wing of the Louvre and Pavilion de l’Horloge begun 1624 by Jacques Lemercier

Palais Cardinal (later Palais-Royal) 1633-35 by Jacques Lemercier

Hôtel Châlons Luxembourg (Marais) 1625 – 1659

Hôtel d’Aumont (Marais) 1649-1665 by Louis Le Vau and François Mansart

Saint Gervais-Saint Protais 1616-21 west front by Clément II Métezeau

Sorbonne chapel begun 1636 by Jacques Lemercier

Val de Grace – Convent 1624Church by François Mansart, Jacques Lemercier and le Duc 1645-1667




Paris Art Studies – The Louvre from François I to Anne of Austria




François I (reign 1515-1547)

1528 – Demolition of central tower (keep) of medieval fortress to open up the courtyard of the Louvre.

1546 – Beginning of new Renaissance wing (west) by Pierre Lescot.


Henri II (reign 1547-1559)

1547 - Lescot retained but plans altered. Monumental staircase (Escalier Henri II) is moved to the north of the Lescot wing to open up space for great halls inside. The sculptural décor of the façade is executed under the direction of sculptor Jean Goujon.

1553 – Demolition of south wing of medieval fortress to build the royal apartments.


Charles IX (reign 1560-1574)

1564 – The queen Mother Catherine de Medici begins Tuileries palace outside the city wall to the west of the Louvre. Design by Philibert Delorme replaced after his death in 1570 by Jean Bullant.

1570 – Beginning of petite galerie as part of a planned junction of the 2 palaces.


Henri III (reign 1574-1589)

1574 – Louvre becomes principal royal residence (until 1682).


Henri IV (reign 1589-1610)

1594 - Henri IV launches the “grand dessein” a grand plan to complete the Louvre:

Demolition of medieval remains

Construction of a square courtyard 4 times the size of the medieval fortress on the east side of the Lescot wing.

Union of Louvre and Tuileries.

Expropriation of existing houses in between the 2 palaces.

1600 – Completion of the Grande and Petites galleries linking the Louvre to the Tuileries. The Grande galerie built by Jacques II Androuet du Cerceau is 450 m long and 13 m wide.

1608 – Artists and craftsmen are invited to reside and work on the ground floor of the Grande galerie by Henri IV.


Louis XIII (reign 1610-1643)

1610-17 – Work interrupted under the regency of Marie de Medici. Nobles settle in between the 2 palaces and build hôtels particuliers compromising Henri’s “grand dessein”.

1624-1643 – Work begins again under Louis XIII and Richelieu. Jacques Lemercier is commissioned to extend the Lescot wing north more than doubling its length. The remaining north wing of the medieval fortress is demolished. A new center the Pavillon de l’Horloge is erected in between the Lescot wing and the new Louis XIII extension. The sculptors Jacques Sarazzin, Gilles Guérin, Philippe de Brister work on the sculptural decoration. The royal mint and press are installed in the Louvre.


Louis XIV (reign 1643-1710)

1643 – the Queen mother and regent Anne of Austria leaves the Louvre with her 2 sons the young King Louis XIV and Philippe for Richelieu’s former palace re-named the Palais Royal.

1651 – Return of the royal family to the more secure apartments of the Louvre after the traumatic episode of the Fronde, rebellion against Anne and her Prime Minister Mazarin followed by civil war.

1655 – 58 – Decoration of Anne’s summer apartment on the ground floor of the petite galerie by le Vau and Guérin. Ceilings painted by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli.


Artists covered in Louvre visit:


Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1644)

Simon Vouet (1590-1649)

Philippe de Chmpaigne (1602-1674)

Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)

Eustache Le Sueur (1616-1655)


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