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The original inhabitants of the land we now know as France were a motley combination of Celts (called Gauls by the Romans), Germanic tribes, and Basques, later joined by Romans. The Romans controlled the province of Gallia for 500 years, until the Franksnote , in the person of King Clovis I, defeated the last Roman governor, Syagrius.

Frankish law and tradition had a significant effect on the succession compared to other realms:

  • Frankish inheritance laws were partible (all heirs had a share in the estate), rather than being based on primogeniture. Since the royal lands were considered personal property, the early dynasties often split the realm among all the heirs, designating one as high king. The Capetians would find various ways to game this system until the laws were changed.
  • Inheritance was only through the male line. Women could not inherit the throne, nor pass a claim to it onto their male descendants. This point of law was cited by French lawyers in the 14th century to deny Edward III of England (a maternal grandson of Philippe IV, and his closest blood relative after the death of his last son) any legal claim to the French throne. Most dependent holdings of the French crown were held under different traditional law codes allowing female succession (Frankish practice was that each tribe was governed under its own laws and traditions). This created the appearance that Salic law (the old law of the Salic Franks, to whom the Merovingians had belonged) was altered ad hoc solely to deny the throne to a political opponent. Especially as French lawyers did not invoke it until after Edward III's death.

The title is translated "I am the state", a phrase famously, although incorrectly attributed to Louis XIV, King of France, a.k.a. 'the Sun King'.

Monarchs and other important state figures with their own pages:

For the five French republics, as well as all the other French regimes since 1789, see French Political System and The Presidents of France.

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    The Merovingians (481–752) 
Clovis's descendants were the Merovingian dynasty, France's first ruling family. Clovis was a great king, though a bit on the manipulative side, but he had four sons to split the kingdom he left behind: four sub-realms, each headed by a king, with the High King hanging out in Paris. Naturally, all of Clovis' offspring saw themselves in the top spot. Bloody feuding ensued, even descending to nephew-murdering, as the kings fought for power.
  • Clovis I (reigned 481/482-511): in addition to uniting France, selecting a backwater Roman outpost (that would eventually become Paris) as his capital, and converting to Catholicism (the first barbarian king to do so; others had converted to the heretical Arian Christian sect), was also famous for bashing in a guy's head because the guy had broken a vase... one year after the fact.
    • Clovis is a Latinized form of the Frankish name Hlodowig, meaning "glorious warrior." This is the source of the French name Louis, borne by 18 of his descendants.
  • Chlodomer (reigned 511-524). Son of Clovis I. Ruled from Orléans. Led a mostly successful campaign of conquest against the Burgundians, but was killed in the Battle of Vézeronce. His sons were underage and were easy prey for his brothers, who killed most of them and split Chlodomer's realm among themselves. A surviving son became a monk, and was later declared a saint. His brothers continued and completed the conquest of Burgundy.
  • Theuderic I (reigned 511-534). Son of Clovis I. Ruled from Reims. Led successful campaigns against Thuringia, and married Radegund of Thuringia. Managed to leave a stable succession in his area.
  • Childebert I (reigned 511-558). Son of Clovis I. Initially ruled from Paris. Led campaigns against the Visigoths of Spain. Successfully annexed Provence to the Frankish realms, though his conquest of Pamplona was short-lived. Besieged but failed to capture Zaragoza. Died with no male heirs, his realm annexed by his surviving brother.
  • Clotaire I (reigned 511-561). Son of Clovis I. Initially ruled from Soissons. Famously ruthless. Managed to unite all Frankish areas under his rule, by outliving all the other kings, and by killing some nephews. Late in life, he had to face the revolt of his son Chram, Duke of Aquitaine. Succeeded in defeating and killing the young man.
  • Theudebert I (reigned 534-548). Son of Theuderic I. Gained a warrior-prince reputation while heir to the throne. As a King, participated in the Gothic War (535–554) and helped ravage Italy. Nominally allied to the Byzantine Empire (one side of the war), but frequently fought against both the Byzantines and the Ostrogoths.
  • Theudebald (reigned 548-555). Son of Theudebert I. A child ruler initially. Managed to preserve his traditional areas in France, but lost the Frankish-held areas of Italy to the Byzantines. Died in his teens after a prolonged illness. His realm was annexed by his surviving great-uncle.
  • Charibert (reigned 561-567). Son of Clotaire I. Ruled from Paris. Legendary brutal. Had several wives, concubines, and daughters, but no male heirs. His early death resulted in the spilitting of his areas among his brothers. His daughter Bertha married king Æthelberh of Kent (reigned c.590-616) and is credited with bringing Frankish culture and Christianity to Anglo-Saxon areas.
  • Sigebert I (reigned 561-575). Son of Clotaire I. Ruled Austrasia. Married to influential Queen Brunhilda, a Visigoth princess. He spend most of his reign in a civil war against his brother Chilperic I. He was actually winning the war and at the top of his power when he was assassinated courtesy of Fredegund, Brunhilda's archenemy.
  • Chilperic I (reigned 561-584). Son of Clotaire I. Ruled Neustria. His second wife Galswintha was bumped off by the woman who would become wife #3, Fredegund. Brunhilda, the sister of wife #2, took it badly, and began a quarter-century feud with wife #3. Chilperic was assassinated by unknown assailants.
  • Guntram (reigned 561-592). Son of Clotaire I. Ruled Burgundy. Famous for his warrior prowess and piety. Considered a champion of the Church. With no children of his own, Guntram designated his nephew Childebert II as his heir.
  • Childebert II (reigned 575-595). Son of Sigebert I, and heir of Guntram. Ruled first Austrasia, and then Burgundy. Initially a child ruler, relying on the protection of Queen Regent Brunhilda. Later a ward of Guntram. He showed some military prowess as a youth, renewing the alliance with the Byzantines and campaigning against the Lombards. He died in his twenties.
  • Clotaire II (reigned 584-629). Son of Chilperic I and Fredegund (Chilperic I's wife #3; see above), inherited the feud, and ended it by having Brunhilda (his mother's mortal enemy) humiliated and gruesomely killed. Managed to unite all Frankish realms under his rule in 613. His reign is considered the beginning of the end for the dynasty. He won the support of the nobles and church for his wars, by granting them extensive administrative and legislative rights... weakening the crown, and its influence, in the process.
  • Theudebert II (reigned 595-612). Son of Childebert II. Ruled Austrasia. Initially a child ruler under Queen Regent Brunhilda; assumed full royal power in 599. Mostly spent his reign in wars against his brother Theuderic II and cousin Clotaire II. He lost a couple of major battles in 612, resulting in his deposition by his grandmother Brunhilda. Deposed by his own grandmother, the powerless Theudebert was assassinated not long after.
  • Theuderic II (reigned 595-613). Son of Childebert II. Ruled Burgundy, and later took over Austrasia. Initially a child ruler under Queen Regent Brunhilda. She continued serving as his chief councilor for most of his reign. He mostly spent his reign in wars against his brother Theuderic II and cousin Clotaire II. He took out the former, but dysentery send him to an early grave.
  • Sigebert II (reigned 613). Son of Theuderic II. Nominally ruled Austrasia and Burgundy. He was underage and his great-grandmother Brunhilda held the real authority. But a number of the leading nobles of his areas switched sides to Clotaire II, resulting in defeat in battle for Brunnhilda, and the execution of Sigebert II. His realms passing to the victorious Clotaire.
  • Dagobert I (co-ruler 623-629. senior ruler 629-639). Son of Clotaire II. Initially appointed by his father as the new ruler of Austrasia, responding to calls for autonomy from the Austrasian nobility. He inherited most of his father's realm, though facing opposition by a half-brother. He won the resulting civil war by 632, briefly uniting all Frankish realms under his control. He later had to appoint a son as co-ruler in Austrasia, to appease the local nobility. There is a childrens' song about him in France, in which he always makes stupid mistakes (like putting his underwear on backwards)—but Dagobert was actually one of the most qualified Merovingians, and underwear didn't exist at the time.
  • Charibert II (reigned 629-632). Son of Clotaire II. Ruled Aquitaine and claimed Neustria. Successfully expanded his realm to include Gascony and Basque areas, partly by diplomacy and partly by campaigning. Died young, possibly assassinated.
  • Chilperic of Aquitaine (reigned 632). Son of Charibert II. Briefly the child ruler of Aquitaine, killed by his uncle Dagobert I. His areas were annexed by Dagobert, but local revolts led to them gaining semi-autonomous status.

They're pretty much all throne-warmers after this point. From Sigebert III and Clovis II through the end of the dynasty, the kings were powerless (and rather short-lived) and the REAL power lay with the maires du palais ("mayors of the palace").

  • Sigebert III (co-ruler 634-639, senior ruler 656). Son of Dagobert I. Ruler of Austrasia. Initially a child ruler, recorded to have led his army into a failed campaign in Thuringia. Raised into a pious adult, but largely irrelevant in politics. His exact year of death is disputed.
  • Clovis II (reigned 639-655). Son of Dagobert I. Ruler of Neustria. Initially a child ruler. He freed the Anglo-Saxon slave Bathild and married her, making her Queen of France. Now that's Rags to Royalty.
  • Clotaire III (reigned 655-673). Son of Clovis II. Ruler of Neustria and Burgundy. Briefly took over Austrasia in 661-662. His reign was marked by a plague that depopulated much of France. A contemporary plague in the British Isles is thought to be connected to the Frankish epidemic.
  • Childebert the Adopted (reigned c. 656-661). Ruler of Austrasia. Adoptive son of Sigebert III; actually the son of Grimoald the Elder, the power-behind-the-throne for both kings. His lack of Merovingian blood was used as a political tool against him, eventually leading to his deposition and death.
  • Childeric II (reigned 662-675). Son of Clovis II. Ruler of Austrasia. Took over Neustria and Burgundy in 673, through a successful campaign. He united all Frankish realms under his rule and tried to restore royal authority. His corporal punishments of nobles led to his assassination. His wife Bilichild and son Dagobert were also assassinated.
  • Theuderic III (reigned 673, 675-691). Son of Clovis II. Ruler of Neustria and Burgundy. Succeeded his brother Clotaire III in 673, but was quickly deposed by Childeric II. He reclaimed his thrones in 675. He inherited Austrasia in 679, uniting all Frankish realms under his rule. However Austrasia and Neustria continued having separate Mayors of the Palace, who competed for power. At times even warring against each other.
  • Clovis III (reigned 675-676). Supposed illegitimate son of Clotaire III, though his origins are disputed. Ruler of Austrasia. A puppet of Ebroin, Mayor of the Palace in Neustria, against his rival Pepin of Herstal. Probably died young.
  • Dagobert II (reigned 676-679). Son of Sigebert III. Ruler of Austrasia. He had been disinherited in favor of his adoptive brother Childebert, and gone off to be a monk in Ireland before later being recalled and offered the throne—though not its power. Killed in a suspicious "hunting accident", having no heirs of his own.
  • Clovis IV (reigned 691-695). Son of Theuderic III. Puppet to Pepin of Herstal. Died young and heirless.
  • Childebert III (reigned 695-711). Son of Theuderic III. Mostly a puppet to Pepin of Herstal, though he apparently took his judicial duties seriously. Records of the time have him taking "just" decisions in trials, but there is no mention of him having military authority. Aquitaine, Burgundy, and Provence gained increased autonomy in his era. All seeking independence following his death.
  • Dagobert III (reigned 711-715). Son of Childebert III. Last king controlled by Pepin of Herstal, who died in 714. Various children of Pepin claimed the right to to succeed him, leading to a violent civil conflict. Secession movements started appearing in several Frankish realms, led by powerful nobles and churchmen. Dagobert died young.
  • Chilperic II (reigned 715-720/721). Son of Childeric II. He had survived the assassination of his family by seeking refuge in a monastery. Spend most of his life as a monk until offered the throne. He proved a decent military leader, initially winning battles against the ambitious Charles Martel. But Charles managed to successfully rest control of Austrasia in 717, using it to recruit new armies and counter-attack into Neustria. He eventually agreed to appoint Charles as his own Mayor of the Palace, but died a few years after that decision.
  • Clotaire IV (reigned 717-718). His origins are disputed, though he is often seen as another son of Theuderic III or Dagobert III. Ruler of Austrasia, a puppet of Charles Martel in his struggle against Chilperic II. His convenient death allowed Chilperic and Charles to combine their forces.
  • Theuderic IV (reigned 721-737). Son of Dagobert III. A puppet for Charles Martel. Spend his "reign" as a prisoner of his Mayor of Palace. Died with no heirs of his own. The throne remained vacant from 737 to 743.
  • Childeric III (reigned 743-752). Origins disputed, though he is often seen as a son of Chilperic II or Theuderic IV. Modern historians suspect that he could be a distant relation to previous monarchs or a politically convenient impostor. A puppet for Carloman and Pepin the Short, sons of Charles Martel and co-Mayors of the Palace.

    The Carolingians (752–987) 
After Charles Martel, son of a maire du palais and poised to take over the mayorship himself, turned back the Moors at the Battle of Tours in 732, the long-standing mayoral grumblings about having the power of a king but not the title reached a flashpoint. What with the ass-kicking Charles Martel comparing rather favorably with the terminally boring King Theuderic IV, Charles' son Pepin had the idea to become king himself and got the pope to agree. Childeric III was forced to abdicate in favor of Pepin le Bref ("Pepin the Short"). Pepin was a pretty good king, but was overshadowed by his war hero dad and his son: Charlemagne, who was a fantastic king. A state identifiable as France began to form.

Pepin I

Lived: c. 714 – 24 September 768
Reigned: 751 – 24 September 768
Parents: Charles Martel and Rotrude of Hesbaye
Consort: Bertrada of Laon
Nickname: le Bref ("the Short)

Son of Charles Martel. His wife was called "Berthe au Grand Pied", or "Big-Footed Bertha". Yes, really. Campaigned in Italy against the Lombards, becoming the protector of the Popes. Created The Papal States. Also campaigned against the Emirate of Cordoba and the Duchy of Aquitaine, successfully annexing Narbonne and setting the stage for further conquests in the Mediterranean coast.

Carloman I

Lived: 28 June 751 – 4 December 771
Reigned: 9 October 768 – 4 December 771
Parents: King Pepin I and Bertrada of Laon
Consort: Gerberga

Inherited Alemannia, Burgundy, and half of Austrasia. Quarreled with his brother, rival and co-ruler Charlemagne. When Carloman died suddenly, Charlemagne moved to take over his areas. His widow Gerberga and two underage children were forced to flee, seeking refuge with the Lombards. Charlemagne managed to conquer the Lombards by 774. The subsequent fate of Carloman's family is unknown.

Charlemagne (Charles I)

Lived: 2 April 747 – 28 January 814
Reigned: 9 October 768 – 28 January 814
Parents: King Pepin I and Bertrada of Laon
Consorts: (1) Desiderata (770–771); (2) Hildegard of Vinzgouw (771–783); (3) Fastrada (783–794); (4) Luitgard (794–800)
Nickname: Pater Europae ("the Father of Europe")

In French pop history, he is credited with inventing school, earning him the enmity of French children forever after. Also extended the borders of the kingdom through the conquest of the Lombards, Saxons, Avars etc. and created the first version of the Holy Roman Empire. The battle that would eventually become fictionalized as The Song of Roland took place under his watch, and the musical Pippin is also set in Charlemagne's court. Charles also appears in the lists of German kings and emperors under his German name Karl der Große, which like Charlemagne (and the Latin form it is based on, Carolus Magnus) means Charles the Great.

Louis I

Lived: 778 – 20 June 840
Reigned: 814 – 20 June 840
Parents: Emperor Charlemagne and Hildegard of Vinzgouw
Consorts: (1) Ermengarde of Hesbaye (814–818); (2) Judith of Bavaria (819 - 20 June 840)
Nicknames: le Pieux ("the Pious"); the Fair; the Debonaire

Since his brothers predeceased him, he was able to keep the whole of Charlemagne's empire. The division of his empire led to the formation of West Francia and East Francia, which would ultimately become France and Germany respectively.

Charles II

Lived: 13 June 823 – 6 October 877
Reigned: 10 August 843 – 6 October 877
Parents: King Louis I and Judith of Bavaria
Consorts: (1) Ermentrude of Orléans (843–869); (2) Richilde of Provence (c. 870 – 2 June 910)
Nickname: le Chauve ("the Bald")

Inherited West Francia after his father divided up his massive kingdom among his many sons. The formal division of the realm took place with the Treaty of Verdun (843). Charles' reign was spent in almost unceasing conflict with his brothers, Vikings, Bretons, and various others.

Louis II

Lived: 1 November 846 – 10 April 879
Reigned: 6 October 877 – 10 April 879
Parents: King Charles II and Ermentrude of Orléans
Consorts: (1) Ansgarde of Burgundy; (2) Adelaide of Paris (6 October 877 – 10 April 879)
Nickname: le Bègue ("the Stammerer")

A meek fellow who died rather young.

Louis III

Lived: 863 or 865 – 5 August 882
Reigned: 10 April 879 – 5 August 882
Parents: King Louis II and Ansgarde of Burgundy
Consort: n/a (died unmarried)

Reigned briefly before falling off a horse while chasing a girl, and dying. He is mostly remembered through the Ludwigslied (Song of Ludwid/Louis), an Old High German poem celebrating his victory over the Horny Vikings in the Battle of Saucourt (881).

Carloman II

Lived: c. 866 – 6 December 884
Reigned: 10 April 879 – 5 August 882 (co-ruler); 5 August 882 – 6 December 884
Parents: King Louis II and Ansgarde of Burgundy
Consort: n/a (died unmarried)

Another son of Louis II, and succeeded his childless brother. He died during a hunting accident.

Charles III

Lived: 839 – 13 January 888
Reigned: 12 December 884 – 11 November 887 (West Francia)
Parents: King Louis II of East Francia and Emma of Altdorf
Consort: Richardis of Swabia
Nickname: the Fat

A grandson of Louis the Pious and a cousin to Louis III and Carloman II. Also reigning as king of East Francia. He is best known for bribing the Vikings not to attack Paris - but he didn't mind letting them burn down Burgundy. Which they did. He lost the throne because of that decisionnote .

The first of two brothers who both would be called "Charles III," but this wouldn't arise until after their deaths – for much of history monarchs were known by their sobriquets rather than their regnal number (see the other "Charles III" for more info).

Eudes (Odo)

Lived: c. 857 – 1 January 898
Reigned: 888 – 1 January 898
Parents: Robert the Strong, Count of Anjou, and Adelaide of Tours
Consort: Théodrate of Troyes

Elected king in 888. When he died, he left the throne to Charles the Simple, the Carolingian heir.

Charles III

Lived: 17 September 879 – 7 October 929
Reigned: 1 January 898 – 7 October 929
Parents: King Louis II and Adelaide of Paris
Consorts: (1) Frederuna (907–917); (2) Eadgifu of Wessex (919–929)
Nickname: the Simple or the Straightforward

No, you're not seeing things. There were two French monarchs called "Charles III" – both half-brothers, no less. However, neither Charles III the Fat nor Charles III the Simple were actually called "Charles III" during their lives as kings wouldn't be given regnal numbers until much later. This is mostly down to the fact that the first French King to call himself by a regnal number would call himself "Charles V" (see the Valois section), even though he was actually the sixth King named Charles. Oops…

Yet another son of Louis the Stammerer who managed to be crowned king as a teenager in 898. His barons rebelled against him and he died in prison. Best known for the Treaty of St Clair sur Epte, where he gave part of his kingdom to a Viking clan chief. This part would eventually be known as Normandy, and his descendants (after William the Conqueror) would become kings of England.

Robert I

Lived: c. 866 – 15 June 923
Reigned: 29 June 922 – 15 June 923
Parents: Robert the Strong, Count of Anjou, and Adelaide of Tours
Spouse: Aelis
Consort: Béatrice of Vermandois (890–923)

Younger brother of Eudes. At first stepped aside and allowed a Carolingian claimant, Charles the Simple, to be crowned king. About twenty five years later, Robert rebelled against Charles. He took the throne, but was killed the following year. Fighting in battle against the deposed Charles III, who was attempting to reclaim his throne.

Raoul (Rudolph)

Lived: c. 890 – 14/15 January 936
Reigned: 13 July 923 – 14/15 January 936
Parents: Richard, Duke of Burgundy, and Adelaide of Auxerre
Consort: Emma of France

Son-in-law of Robert I, was elected by an assembly of the nobles on the aftermath of Charles the Simple's defeat. He left no children behind.

Louis IV

Lived: September 920/921 – 10 September 954
Reigned: 14/15 January 936 – 10 September 954
Parents: King Charles III and Eadgifu of Wessex
Consort: Gerberga of Saxony
Nicknames: d'Outremer or Transmarinus (both meaning "from overseas")

Sent into exile when his father was captured. His mother, an Anglo-Saxon princess, took him to England where he was raised (on his mother's side, he was a great-grandson of Alfred the Great). The French nobles summoned him back in 936. He died from a fall from his horse.


Lived: 941 – 2 March 986
Reigned: 10 September 954 – 2 March 986
Parents: King Louis IV and Gerberga of Saxony
Consort: Emma of Italy

Became king at the age of 13 on his father's sudden death. He constantly waged war on his own vassals, on the count of Flanders, on the HRE Otto II, and probably some others.

Louis V

Lived: c. 966 or 967 – 22 May 987
Reigned: 2 March 986 – 22 May 987
Parents: King Lothair and Emma of Italy
Spouse: Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou
Nickname: le Fainéant ("the Lazy")note 

Died from a fall from his horse in 987.

From 987 AD until the mid-nineteenth century, France was ruled by one branch or another of the Capetian dynasty (albeit with the occasional interruption by those parvenu Bonapartes) and direct male-line descendants of Hugues Capet still occupy the modern-day thrones of Luxembourg and Spain. Due to Salic law, France was strictly part of the Heir Club for Men.

    The Capetians (987–1328) 

Hugues Capet
Lived: c. 939 – 14 October 996
Reigned: 5 July 987 – 14 October 996
Parents: Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris, and Hedwige Liudolfing
Consort: Adelaide of Aquitaine

Unexpectedly kingless, the nobles got together and elected a new king: a guy named Hughes ("Hugh"), who liked to wear a cope (chape in French) because he was lay abbot of Saint-Martin-de-Tours. The people called him Hughes Capet ("Hughes of the Little Cape").

His descendants were the Capetians, who, between one branch of the family or another, would rule for nearly a thousand years. Capetians still sit on the thrones of modern-day Spain and Luxembourg (and might still be sitting on the throne of France were it not for the stubbornness of one of his descendants—for details see below).

Hughes had been a major power broker in France from the reign of Louis IV until his own election as king in 987. Although the powers of the French King had been weak (Capet himself risked being held for ransom if he left his bailiwick of the Ile-De-France), he was able to have his son Robert crowned as co-monarch during his own rule; this practice (which continued for quite some time) kept the Crown lands away from the Frankish partible-inheritance laws and enabled his successors to gradually centralize power (if there is one king, and he dies, then the royal landnote  is divided among his sons; but if there are two kings, and one dies, the surviving one keeps the whole thing—talk about Loophole Abuse!).

Robert II
Lived: c. 972 – 20 July 1031
Reigned: 30 December 987 – 24 October 996 (as co-monarch with his father); 24 October 996 – 20 July 1031 (by himself)
Parents: King Hugues Capet and Adelaide of Aquitaine
Consorts: (1) Rozala of Italy (988–996); (2) Bertha of Burgundy (996–1001); (3) Constança d'Arle (1001–1031)
Nicknames: le Pieux ("the Pious"); le Sage ("the Wise")

Best known for his marital problems. His first wife was a much older Italian princess, Rozala, whom he dumped as soon as his father died. His second wife was Berthe de Bourgogne, a marriage that got him excommunicated for consanguinity (marriage within forbidden bounds of kinship). He finally divorced her in 999 after their only child was born deformed, and remarried to Constança d'Arle. Constança was known to be vicious, to say the least, and had her cousin murder a friend of Robert's right in front of him when she suspected the man of getting between her and Robert. Enraged, Robert tried to divorce her and remarry Berthe, but was unable, and finally took Constança back. She incited wars between him and three of their sons, and he died in 1031 while fighting his children.

Robert got his sobriquet due to his devout Catholicism, which unfortunately extended to reviving the Roman Imperial practice of burning heretics at the stake (and otherwise treating heresy harshly), and encouraging pogroms against the Jews.

Hugh Magnus

Lived: 1007 – 17 September 1025
Co-reigned: 19 June 1017 – 17 September 1025
Parents: King Robert II and Constança d'Arle
Consorts: n/a (never married)

Crowned as co-monarch under his father. However, he wound up rebelling against him, but died at the age of 18 while doing so.

Because he never was King in his own right, he never received the name 'Hughes II.' Most tend to just forget about him.

Henri I
Lived: 4 May 1008 – 4 August 1060
Reigned: 14 May 1027 – 20 July 1031 (co-reign); 20 July 1031 – 4 August 1060 (solo reign)
Parents: King Robert II and Constança d'Arle
Consorts: (1) Matilda of Frisia (1034–1044); (2) Anne of Kyiv (1051–1060)

Began his reign in open warfare with his own mother. His most notable achievement was marrying the exotic and cultured princess Anne of Kyiv (famously, she signed their marriage contract in neat Cyrillic letters, while her illiterate husband signed with an 'X'). He died in 1060. He is the only French king named Henri to die peacefully.

Philippe I
Lived: c. 1052 – 29 July 1108
Reigned: 23 May 1059 – 4 August 1060 (co-reign); 4 August 1060 – 29 July 1108 (solo reign)
Parents: King Henri I and Anne of Kyiv
Consorts: (1) Bertha of Holland (1072–1092); (2) Bertrade of Monfort (1092–1108)

Became king at the age of seven upon his father's death. He is best known for eloping with the beautiful Bertrade of Montfort in 1092; their marriage was illegal due to the slight problem that both the bride and the groom had living spouses. He was excommunicated several times but refused to leave Bertrade.

He died in 1108, and was buried at the church of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire instead of at the royal tombs at St. Denis because he felt he was not worthy to be buried with his ancestors.

Louis VI
Lived: late 1081 – 1 August 1137
Reigned: 29 July 1108 – 1 August 1137
Parents: King Philippe I and Bertha of Holland
Spouse: Lucienne of Rochefort (1104–1107)
Consort: Adélaide of Maurienne (1115–1137)
Nicknames: le Gros ("the Fat"); le Batailleur ("the Fighter")

Allegedly his stepmother, the aforementioned Bertrade of Monfort, tried to murder him with poison and sorcery to make way for her own sons to inherit the crown, to no avail.

As king, he had to contend with a number of dissident barons, and was assisted in fending them off by his capable queen, Adélaide of Maurienne, and by Abbot Suger of the monastery of St. Denis.

Before becoming, well, large-sized, he was a proud warrior, and the first king to use the battlecry "Montjoie! Saint-Denis!"


Lived: 29 August 1116 – 13 October 1131
Co-reigned: 14 April 1129 – 13 October 1131
Parents: King Louis VI and Adélaide of Maurienne
Consort: n/a (never married)

Ruled as co-King alongside Louis VI. But he only lasted two years in the role before dying at the age of 15 after falling off his horse when it was tripped up by a "diabolical pig." Like Hugh Magnus before him, the fact that he never reigned in his own right means he isn't usually counted in the lists of French monarchs or in the French regnal numbering system, and is usually forgotten.

Supposedly, his unfulfilled wish to see Jerusalem inspired his brother Louis VII to participate in the Second Crusade… which didn't end well.

Louis VII
Lived: 1120 – 18 September 1180
Reigned: 25 October 1131 – 1 August 1137 (junior king); 1 August 1137 – 18 September 1180 (senior king)
Parents: King Louis VI and Adélaide of Maurienne
Consorts: (1) Eleanor Of Aquitaine (1137–1152); (2) Constance of Castile (1154–1160); (3) Adèle of Champagne (1160–1180)
Nickname: le Jeune ("the Young")

Originally intended for the clergy, he was plucked from his monastery and made heir after his elder brother Philippe died.

He married the beautiful heiress Eleanor Of Aquitaine but she found him 'more monk than king.' After several childless years, a war sparked by her sister running off with his cousin, a disastrous trip on the Second Crusade (because he felt guilty after burning down a church and all the inhabitants of a little town called Vitry-en-Perthois), and accusations that Eleanor was cheating on him with her own uncle, Louis and Eleanor divorced. She married the future king of England.

As for Louis, he remarried twice and finally got his long-desired son and heir in 1165.

Philippe II Auguste
Lived: 21 August 1165 – 14 July 1223
Reigned: 1 November 1179 – 18 September 1180 (junior king); 18 September 1180 – 14 July 1223 (senior king)
Parents: King Louis VII and Adèle of Champagne
Consorts: (1) Isabella of Hainault (1170–1190); (2) Ingeborg of Denmark (1193–1223); (3) Agnes of Merania (1196–1201)

The first French monarch to be styled 'King of France' as opposed to 'King of the Franks.'

He had an intense rivalry with Richard I of England and they went on the Third Crusade together. He also fought intensely against Richard's brother and successor, King John of England, though outside a few flashes of brilliance from John this wasn't as fair a fight as against Richard.

Like his father, he married three times: first to Isabella of Hainault, who died in childbirth with twins; second to Ingeborg of Denmark, whom he loathed and repudiated after their wedding night; and finally to Agnes von Andechs-Meranien, while he was still married to Ingeborg, resulting in an excommunication.

Won the battle of Bouvines, against the allied armies of England, Flanders, and the Holy Roman Empire; this had the effect of depriving John of nearly all of his French possessions (with the only-somewhat-significant exception of Gascony) and thus destroying the "Angevin Empire" that had once stretched from the Pyrenees to the Scottish Borders. These victories scored by Philippe earned him the byname "Philippe Auguste" ("Philip Augustus") from the chronicler monk Rigord.

Louis VIII
Lived: 5 September 1187 – 8 November 1226
Reigned: 14 July 1223 – 8 November 1226 (France); 2 June 1216 – 20 September 1217 (England, disputed)
Parents: King Philippe II and Isabella of Hainault
Consort: Blanche of Castile
Nickname: Le Lion ("the Lion")

When he was still prince of France, he became King of England for a short and disputed time during the First Barons' War. At this time, King John of England was becoming unpopular with many of his barons, to the point where they invited Louis to invade and become King. He managed to get proclaimed King of England in St. Paul's Cathedral in 1216. But Louis' claim to the English throne didn't last, as John died of dysentery and his claim passed to his son, Henry III. This prompted many of the barons backing Louis to switch sides – probably because Henry was only nine years old, so they figured he'd be easier to manipulate. Because of the brevity and questionable legitimacy of Louis's "reign," he is usually left off the English/British lists of monarchs.

His time as King of France wasn't much longer, as he died in 1226 at age 39, just three years into his reign. His widow, the able and intelligent Blanche of Castile, served as regent for their young son.

Louis IX / Saint Louis
Lived: 25 April 1214 – 25 August 1270
Reigned: 8 November 1226 – 25 August 1270
Parents: King Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile
Consort: Margaret of Provence

The only French king the Catholic Church has canonized as a saint.note 

He married Margaret of Provence; her sisters were the queen of England, the queen of Germany, and the queen of Sicily.

Extremely pious, he considered it his duty to lead two Crusades to the Holy Land, both of which ended in complete disaster — in 1250 his army was destroyed and Louis himself was captured by the Egyptians. He died in 1270 at Tunis during the Eighth Crusade.

And yes, the city in Missouri is named after him.

Philippe III
Lived: 1 May 1245 – 5 October 1285
Reigned: 25 August 1270 – 5 October 1285
Parents: King Louis IX and Margaret of Provence
Consorts: (1) Isabella of Aragon (1262–1271); (2) Maria of Brabant (1274–1285)
Nickname: le Hardi ("the Bold")

Personally timid, but a magnificent fighter once on the battlefield, for which he earned his sobriquet.

Dante Alighieri placed him in the Valley of the Princes in the Ante-Purgatory (a place where kings and others who were genuinely repentant but whose earthly public duties hampered spiritual growth must wait for a period equal to their earthly lives before entering Purgatory) in his The Divine Comedy; given the contempt Dante held for the whole Capetian dynasty, and especially the ones contemporaneous with him, this was a huge compliment.

Philippe IV
Lived: April–June 1268 – 29 November 1314
Reigned: 5 October 1285 – 29 November 1314
Parents: King Philippe III and Isabella of Aragon
Consort: Queen Joan I of Navarre
Nicknames: Philippe le Bel ("Philippe the Fair"); le Roi de fer ("The Iron King")

His mother was killed in 1271 after tumbling from her horse while pregnant. Philippe himself grew up to be good-looking (he was called le Bel, the handsome) but cold and merciless – his enemy, the bishop of Pamiers, declared that Philippe was neither man nor beast, but a statue.

Philippe is best known for arresting and otherwise humiliating the Pope (Boniface VIII at the time), a feat the Holy Roman Emperors had previously failed to achieve, despite them trying for decades. He later got a French pope elected, who moved to France (Avignon).

Philippe IV was the King of France and an outsized presence in Italy for much of the period Dante was writing The Divine Comedy, and is the subject of repeated references in that work. Dante's opinion of Philippe IV was much dimmer than the one he had of his father; Dante never mentions him by name, only as the mal de Francia ("Plague of France"), and strongly implies that Philippe is in Hell for his crimes (particularly arresting the Pope).note 

The other thing he is remembered for is ordering the arrests, tortures, and executions of hundreds of Templars in 1307 for heresy, getting his hands on their fortune in the process. The pope Clement V was his pawn and conspirator in destroying the Knights Templar. The Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, was burnt to death in March 1314; according to legend, he cursed both Philippe and Clement, and declared that he would meet them again in front of God before the year was out.

Sure enough, Clement V died that April, followed by Philippe in November.

Legend states that de Molay also cursed the king's descendants to the seventh generation. The next seven kings all had short reigns and brutal deaths, and none of them left surviving sons. Which led to the throne going to the Valois. This is the subject of a series of books by Maurice Druon, The Accursed Kings, adapted twice for TV.

Louis X
Lived: 4 October 1289 – 5 June 1316
Reigned: 29 November 1314 – 5 June 1316
Parents: King Philippe IV and Queen Joan I of Navarre
Consorts: (1) Margaret of Burgundy (1305–1315); (2) Clementia of Hungary (1315–1316)
Nickname: le Hutin ("the Quarrelsome")

In 1305, he accused his wife, Marguerite de Bourgogne, of adultery and had her imprisoned and her alleged lover killed. After Marguerite died mysteriously in 1315, Louis remarried five days later to a Hungarian princess, Klemencia. He died suddenly in 1316 following a game of tennis.

Jean I
Lived: 15 – 20 November 1316
Reigned: 15 – 20 November 1316
Parents: King Louis X and Clementia of Hungary
Consort: n/a (never married)
Nickname: le Posthume ("the Posthumous")

Louis X's posthumous son by Klemencia of Hungary. He lived and reigned only five days.

Philippe V
Lived: c. 1291 – 3 January 1322
Reigned: 20 November 1316 – 3 January 1322
Parents: King Philippe IV and Queen Joan I of Navarre
Consort: Countess Joan II of Burgundy
Nickname: le Long ("the Tall")

Louis X's brother. Succeeded his short-lived nephew (whom some suspected died on his orders). He had several daughters but no surviving sons, and so when he died in 1322 the throne went to his younger brother.

Charles IV
Lived: 18/19 June 1294 – 1 February 1328
Reigned: 3 January 1322 – 1 February 1328
Parents: King Philippe IV and Queen Joan I of Navarre
Consorts: (1) Blanche of Burgundy (1307–1322); (2) Marie of Luxembourg (1322–1324); (3) Joan of Évreux (1324–1328)
Nicknames: le Bel ("the Fair")note ; el Calvo ("the Bald")note 

The last surviving son of Philippe IV, and succeeded both of his brothers. His first wife, Blanche de Bourgogne (a sister of Jeanne II de Bourgogne who was married to Philippe V; they were only distantly related to Marguerite, however) was accused of adultery and imprisoned in 1314. After he became king, Charles refused to free her, and she died in captivity. He remarried twice before dying in 1328, leaving a pregnant wife who then gave birth to a daughter, and so the throne passed from the senior branch of the Capetians to the junior branch, the Valois.

Charles inherited his father's handsomeness, hence his nickname.

Was also the last Capetian King of France to also rule Navarre, as the kingdoms became separate again after his death, with the throne of Navarre passing to his niece (Louis X's daughter), Joan II. The thrones would remain separate until 1589, when Henri III of Navarre ascended the French throne as Henri IV.

    The Valois (1328–1589) 

The Direct Valois (1328–1498)

Philippe VI
Lived: circa 1293 – 22 August 1350
Reigned: 1 April 1328 – 22 August 1350
Parents: Charles, Count of Valois, and Margaret, Countess of Anjou
Consorts: (1) Joan of Burgundy (1313–1349); (2) Blanche of Navarre (1350–1350)
Nicknames: le Fortuné ("the Fortunate"); le Catholique ("the Catholic")

Grandson of Philip III, and cousin to Louis X, Philippe V, and Charles IV. After the extinction of the senior male line, he became king. Tensions between him and his cousin Edward III of England erupted into the Hundred Years War (which actually lasted 116 years. Or 126, depending on who you ask). A series of military defeats and the Black Death crushed France during his reign and left the realm divided at his death in 1350.

Jean II
Lived: 26 April 1319 – 8 April 1364
Reigned: 22 August 1350 – 8 April 1364
Parents: King Philippe VI and Joan of Burgundy
Spouse: Bonne of Bohemia (1332–1349)
Consort: Joan I, Countess of Auvergne (1350–1360)
Nicknames: Jean le Bon ("John the Good")

Philippe's son and heir. His nickname "the Good" doesn't mean he was The Good King, it's more akin to the Brave. In 1356 he was captured during the Battle of Poitiers and taken to England as a hostage. He stayed in the Tower of London until 1360. Usually viewed as one of the worst kings France ever had.

Charles V
Lived: 21 January 1338 – 16 September 1380
Reigned: 8 April 1364 – 16 September 1380
Parents: King Jean II and Bonne of Bohemia
Consort: Joanna of Bourbon
Nickname: le Sage ("the Wise")

The first King of France to address himself by a regnal number, he actually screwed up the French regnal numbering system when he dubbed himself "Charles V," as it turns out he miscounted the number of Charleses in the list of French monarchs. He was actually the sixth French monarch named Charles (hence there being two "Charles IIIs" in the Carolingian dynasty).

Through a combination of pluck, bribery, and dirty fighting (often performed by the Constable Bertrand du Guesclin, who once conquered a castle by dressing his soldiers like the opponent), he managed to recover much of the territory the English had seized from the French crown. He died in 1380, leaving the throne to his 12-year-old son.

Charles VI
Lived: 3 December 1368 – 21 October 1422
Reigned: 16 September 1380 – 21 October 1422
Parents: King Charles V and Joanna of Bourbon
Consort: Isabeau of Bavaria
Nicknames: le Bien-Aimé ("the Beloved"); le Fou ("the Mad")

Insanity ran in his mother, Joanna of Bourbon's family, and from 1392 onwards, Charles suffered bouts of psychosis. He would randomly murder men out of paranoia, believed he was made of glass, and even underwent an exorcism. The people of France thought Charles was cursed and suffered insanity because of their sins, hence the Beloved nickname.

When the English invaded France, he signed a treaty disinheriting the Dauphin and recognizing his son-in-law, Henry V of England, as his successor. However, Henry predeceased Charles by two months, so his claim to the throne went to Henry's son and Charles VI's grandson, Henry VI, who it turns out, had inherited Charles's insanity. Eventually, the Dauphin made an effort to reestablish his own claim, allowing him to become…

Charles VII
Lived: 22 February 1403 – 22 July 1461
Reigned: 21 October 1422 – 22 July 1461
Parents: King Charles VI and Isabeau of Bavaria
Consort: Marie of Anjou
Nicknames: King of Bourgesnote ; le Victorieux ("the Victorious")note ; le Bien-Servi ("the Well-Served")note 

He was officially Charles VI's son, but there were rumours that he had been fathered by Charles' brother, Louis d'Orléans. He is best known for his alliance with Joan of Arc. Thanks in part to her efforts, Charles definitively reclaimed the French throne, and the English were finally driven out (except in Calais, which wouldn't fall until 1558).

He had a phobia of bridges after watching Jean the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, get murdered on a bridge. Had an official mistress, Agnes Sorel, who scandalized the court for wearing a dress designed to flash her boobs out, and making enemies for being a controversial influence to the king, and mysteriously died young.

His later years were marred by a feud with his eldest son and the growth of a tumor on his jaw that prevented him from eating. He starved to death in 1461.

Louis XI
Lived: 3 July 1423 – 30 August 1483
Reigned: 22 July 1461 − 30 August 1483
Parents: King Charles VII and Marie of Anjou
Spouse: Margaret of Scotland (1436–1445)
Consort: Charlotte of Savoy (1451–1483)
Nicknames: Louis le Prudent ("Louis the Prudent"); l'universelle araignée ("the Universal Spider"note ); le rusé ("the cunning")

Despised his father and after a failed rebellion, was banished from court.

His distant cousin Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, was his main opponent during the main part of his reign (and was initially far more powerful than him), but a combination of treachery and bribery - he never fought a battle against Charles - made him win, the Duke being finally killed after a defeat against the Swiss army.note 

He engineered his cousin Henry VI's return to the English throne, and ended the Hundred Years War once and for all by bribing and charming the English into leaving the country.

Not altogether an attractive character — he called his daughter Anne de Beaujeu "the least stupid woman alive" — he united a wartorn country, dealt cleverly with anyone who got in his way, and left France stronger and healthier than he found it.

Charles VIII
Lived: 30 June 1470 – 7 April 1498
Reigned: 30 August 1483 – 7 April 1498
Parents: King Louis XI and Charlotte of Savoy
Consort: Anne, Duchess of Brittany
Nickname: l'Affable ("the Affable")

Louis' only son, and nothing like his father. Amiable, weak-minded, and foolish, he gained nothing in his wars. His death (by falling in the stairs of the castle of Amboise) extinguished the senior line of the Valois, and a cousin inherited his throne and his queen.

Les Valois-Orléans (1498–1515)

Louis XII
Lived: 27 June 1462 – 1 January 1515
Reigned: 7 April 1498 – 1 January 1515
Parents: Charles, Duke of Orléans, and Marie of Cleves
Spouse: Joan of France (1476–1498)
Consorts: (1) Anne, Duchess of Brittany (1499–1514); (2) Mary Tudornote  (1499–1514)
Nickname: Le Père du Peuple ("the Father of the People")

Duke of Orleans, a great-grandson of Charles V, and cousin to Charles VIII. He married Charles' widow, Anne de Bretagne, upon becoming king, following a seedy divorce from his first wife, Charles VIII's sister (allegations of witchcraft and deformities flew thick and fast from both sides). He and Anne had two daughters, but no sons. After his queen died, the 52-year-old Louis married the 18-year-old Mary Tudor, sister of the notorious Henry VIII of England, and died three months later, allegedly worn out by his new bride.

Initially quite successful in the Italian Wars - taking Milan and correcting the mistakes of his predecessor - essentially becoming a Lord of a third of Italy. However due to Charles VIII having alienated everyone else, without allies, The Prince describes how Louis XII made the critical mistake of assisting Pope Alexander VI and giving him more temporal power by helping him take Romanga, which forces him into another mistake in trying to divide Naples with Spain, only to be forced to abandon the kingdom and leave it in Ferdinand's which ultimately lost him his gains in Milan.

Les Valois-Angoulême (1515–1589)

François I
Lived: 12 September 1494 – 31 March 1547
Reigned: 1 January 1515 – 31 March 1547
Parents: Charles, Count of Angoulême, and Louise of Savoy
Consorts: (1) Claude, Duchess of Brittany (1514–1524); (2) Eleanor of Austria (1530–1547)
Nicknames: le Père et Restaurateur des Lettres ("The Father and Restorer of Letters")note ; François au Grand Nez ("François of the Large Nose"); le Roi-Chevalier ("the Knight-King")

Was comte d'Angoulême before becoming King, was yet another cousin, also descended from Charles V. He was also married to Louis XII's eldest surviving daughter, Claude.

Cultured, sophisticated, and a patron of the arts (he invited Leonardo da Vinci to live in France, owned the The Mona Lisa, and spent lots of money to upgrade numerous castles, making him the most prominent French figure of The Renaissance).

He desired the vacated crown of the Holy Roman Empire, promising to finish the Ottoman Empire if they gave it to him, but the Spanish candidate Charles V beat him at it, after which the two became arch-rivals. François launched a series of ambitious wars against Charles, but his old-fashioned military ways (hence the "Knight-King" sobriquet) caused him to lose most of the time, often in disastrous fashion. He was captured on the battlefield and held hostage in Madrid for awhile, from which he got out by pretending to accept humiliating terms of peace only to resume the war after being freed. During his reign, France made an alliance with the Ottoman Empire, which was, aside from ironic given the previous claims, rather scandalous in the Christian Europe.

He occasionally appears in fiction and media about Henry VIII of England, as the two knew each other and were sort of frenemies. He died in 1547 – just two months after Henry VIII, oddly enough.

Henri II
Lived: 31 March 1519 – 10 July 1559
Reigned: 31 March 1547 – 10 July 1559
Parents: King François I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany
Consort: Caterina de Medici

François' eldest surviving son. As a boy, he spent 3 years as a hostage in Spain, and when returned to France only spoke Spanish. He is best known for his notorious wife, Caterina de’ Medici, and his beautiful mistress, Diane de Poitiers.

He was killed in 1559 during a jousting tournament, when a lance pierced through his eye into his brain (according to the legend, this event was earlier predicted by Nostradamus. A success which gave Nostradamus a prominent position in the court).

He is also quite possibly the unluckiest man in the history of the Heir Club for Men. The Valois dynasty pretty much ended up with the same situation of their predecessors the Capetians: three brothers crowned kings one after the other and none of them had surviving male heirs. Oops.

François II
Lived: 19 January 1544 – 5 December 1560
Reigned: 10 July 1559 – 5 December 1560
Parents: King Henri II and Caterina de’ Medici
Consort: Queen Mary of Scotland

Henri and Catherine's eldest son. Sickly and uninspiring, he married Mary, Queen of Scots before dying of an ear infection after reigning a year and a half.

Charles IX
Lived: 27 June 1550 – 30 May 1574
Reigned: 5 December 1560 – 30 May 1574
Parents: King Henri II and Caterina de’ Medici
Consort: Elisabeth of Austria

The younger brother of François II, and succeeded him in 1560, aged ten - his mother Catherine acting as regent until his death.

He is best known for the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, the most infamous episode of the French Wars of Religion.

Soon after, he began sweating bloodnote  and became a lunatic. He suffered delusions until his death of tuberculosis in 1574.

Henri III
Lived: 19 September 1551 – 2 August 1589
Reigned: 30 May 1574 – 2 August 1589
Parents: King Henri II and Caterina de’ Medici
Consort: Louise of Lorraine

The last surviving son of Henri II and Catherine de Medici, and his mother's favorite.

He loved fashion and crossdressing, and famously attempted to court Queen Elizabeth I of England. His two most famous rivals were also both named Henri: his cousin Henri de Guise, known as 'le balafré', meaning Scarface; and his other cousin (and brother-in-law) Henri de Navarre.

In 1588, Henri had Scarface assassinated, and was himself murdered a year later by a monk, uttering "Ah, le méchant moine! Il m'a tué!" ("Ah! The evil monk! He killed me!").

He had no children, and thus the throne passed to Henri de Navarre.

    The Bourbons, Part I (1589–1792) 

Henri IV
Lived: 13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610
Reigned: 9 June 1572 – 14 May 1610 (Navarre); 2 August 1589 – 14 May 1610 (France)
Parents: Antoine of Navarre and Queen Jeanne III of Navarre
Consorts: (1) Margaret of Valois (1572–1599); (2) Marie de' Medici (1600–1610)
Nicknames: Henri le grand ("Henry the Great"), le bon roi Henri ("Good King Henry")

Was the king of Navarre (through female succession), and the cousin and brother-in-law of the three last Valois-Orleans kings. His claim to the throne came through being the senior, male-line descendant of Louis IX; by the Salic Law, he had been the heir-presumptive to the throne since the death of Charles IX, and it was mostly politics that clouded the question of his succession.

Specifically, he was a Protestant, which the powerful Catholic League led by Henri de Guise found distinctly disturbing. However, Henri de Navarre proved to be a politique—in the parlance of the time, a pragmatist more interested in the stability and power of the state than in religious purity, and thus willing to change religious affiliation for political reasons. Henri did so, converting to Catholicism, twice: once to save his skin during the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, and once when he was about to take the throne, famously saying Paris vaut bien une messe ("Paris is well worth a Mass"). He had his first childless marriage with the infamous Marguerite de Valois annulled, and then married an Italian princess, Maria de' Medici.

He had a firm grasp of the concept that the power of the kings and nobles came from the people, and concerned himself with the prosperity and well-being of the common folk of France; he famously proclaimed that if God kept him, he would make sure that every peasant in the realm had "a chicken in his pot every Sunday" (coining the phrase "a chicken in every pot" as a synonym for "national prosperity"). As a result, he was remembered quite fondly by the French people and is also known to this day as le bon roi Henri ("Good King Henry").

The Good King was also a big fan of good food, encouraging the development of French cuisine (a process his Italian wife helped, introducing techniques from the then-best-in-Europe Italian kitchen), and according to tradition introducing sauce béarnaise (named after his home province of Béarn, today considered one of the best accompaniments to grilled meats, particularly steak).

He also really, really loved women, being nicknamed Le Vert-Galant because he was very energetic with his mistresses - before his death, he was about to start a war against Spain to free a young woman he wanted in his bed.

He was assassinated by the Catholic fanatic François Ravaillac, who stabbed him while stuck in traffic during the Queen's coronation ceremony in 1610. Starting with Henri IV, the Bourbon kings' official title was that of a King of France and Navarra.

Louis XIII
Lived: 27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643
Reigned: 14 May 1610 – 14 May 1643
Parents: King Henri IV and Marie de' Medici
Consort: Anne of Austria
Nickname: The Just

Henri and Marie's elder son, and became king at the age of eight. His marriage to Anne, daughter of King Philip III of Spain, was childless for an astonishing 23 years before Anne surprised everyone by giving birth to two sons. The elder, of course, was heir apparent; the younger was given the title Duke of Orléans and founded a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon that proved to be very important about 200 years later.

Cardinal Richelieu became his lawful first minister, even if fiction often portrays him as a traitor - to be fair, he could be very evil with his opponents.

At the end of his reign, Louis had a passionate relationship with the Marquis de Cinq-Mars, who tried to stir up shit with Richelieu and got beheaded for his trouble.

Louis XIII and his queen appear as characters in Dumas' The Three Musketeers and the movies based on the novel.

Louis XIV
Lived: 5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715
Reigned: 14 May 1643 – 1 September 1715
Parents: King Louis XIII and Anne of Austria
Consorts: (1) Maria Theresa of Spain (1660–1683); (2) Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon (1683–1715)
Nicknames: Louis le Grand (Louis the Great); le Roi-Soleil (The Sun King)

The one French king almost everyone knows the name of, mostly due to his love of having portraits and statues made of himself, naming places after himself, and his remarkable 72-year-long reign, a record for a European monarch.

Came to the throne at a time when France was suffering from noble rebellions and a long-running war with Spain, both of which Mazarin skilfully ended before proceeding to vastly expand France's cultural, military and territorial power, although he almost bankrupted the country in doing so.

The title of this page is derived from a quote attributed to him, but probably not something he ever actually said (Though it does illustrate his view of power).

When he appears in media, expect references to The Man in the Iron Mask (who may or may not have been his identical twin brother) and lots of hot chicks in low-cut ballgowns.

By the time he died in 1715, just short of his 77th birthday, he had outlived his eldest son, grandson, and great-grandson, and was succeeded by a five-year-old great-grandson.

The "Sun King" proved to be a master of the Vetinari Job Security, decisively putting an end to noble plots against the crown and transferring power to royal ministries. France thrived under this system in large part due to Louis' skills at recruiting talented ministers and managing their work, as well as his Workaholic tendencies (he was in the habit of getting up early in the morning to handle a substantial portion of the national paperwork, before officially getting up at the lever several hours later). Unfortunately, everything depended on a strong, decisive king to make the government work. And with that, we come to…

Louis XV
Lived: 15 February 1710 – 10 May 1774
Reigned: 1 September 1715 – 10 May 1774
Parents: Louis, Duke of Burgundy, and Marie Adélaïde of Savoy
Consort: Marie Leszczyńska
Nickname: The Beloved

Great-grandson to Louis XIV, unexpectedly became heir to the throne at the age of five years. He reigned until his death in 1774, aged 64.

Timid, apathetic, and luxury-loving, he kept a parade of mistresses who bore him a small army of illegitimate children, in addition to the ten his queen, a Polish princess named Maria Leszczyńska, gave him. She described her marriage as "forever bedded, forever pregnant, forever in childbed". The most famous of his mistresses was Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, a.k.a. Madame de Pompadour (by whom, ironically, he had no children), followed by Madame Du Barry.

Has been played by a lot of people over the years and featured in a Steven Moffat episode of Doctor Who.

His eldest son predeceased him, so his grandson succeeded him to the throne. Proved to be a rather lousy king, as he did nothing to fix the financial problems left by his great-grandfather and kept getting France involved in expensive wars that yielded little gain.

The phrase "Après moi, le déluge" (After me, the Flood) is attributed to him (or the Marquise de Pompadour), suggesting he foresaw the Revolution after his death. In modern parlance, the expression is usually used to criticize politicians who favour short-term gains regardless of future hardships — basically, "after I'm gone, anything that happens won't be my problem anyway".

Louis XVI
Lived: 23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793
Reigned: 10 May 1774 – 21 September 1792
Parents: Louis, Dauphin of France, and Maria Josepha of Saxony
Consort: Marie-Antoinette
Nickname: The Last

Married to Marie-Antoinette, Louis XVI was unable to fix France's failing finances left by his grandfather Louis XV. He wound up providing important aid to the American colonists during The American Revolution, sending money, supplies and troops to support the rebels, although this hastened France's eventual bankruptcy.

As a result of the untenable financial situation, unrest erupted throughout the country, culminating in The French Revolution. At first, Louis was forced to become a constitutional monarch, but as other countries launched wars to try and topple the revolutionaries, he and his family tried to flee to Austria, but were caught and returned to Paris.

Soon after, as radical republicans like Maximilien Robespierre came to power, the King and his family were arrested, and the monarchy officially dissolved in 1792. He was tried under the name "Citizen Louis Capet," which as you can see, was not actually his dynastic name. Not that the revolutionaries cared, as he was given the death sentence, and subsequently guillotined in 1793.

"Louis XVII"

Lived: 27 March 1785 – 8 June 1795
Claimant: 21 January 1793 – 8 June 1795
Parents: King Louis XVInote  and Marie Antoinette
Consort: n/a (never married)

Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette's second son. Arrested along with his family, he died in prison in 1795, aged ten.

For centuries, rumors flew that he had not died, and as many as 100 men claimed to be him—but, in 2000, DNA taken from the heart of a ten-year-old boy claimed to be that of Louis XVII was tested, and found to match the DNA of Marie-Antoinette.

Technically he was never king, as the monarchy had been dissolved by the time his father was executed. However, royalists considered him the heir to the throne, and during the Bourbon Restoration, his uncle styled himself Louis XVIII, thus incorporating the prince into the French regnal numbering system.

    The Bonapartes, Part I (1804–1814, 1815) 

Napoléon I
Lived: 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821
Reigned: 18 May 1804 – 6 April 1814; 20 March 1815 – 22 June 1815
Parents: Carlo Maria di Buonaparte and Maria Letizia Ramolino
Consorts: (1) Joséphine de Beauharnais (1796–1810); (2) Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma (1810–1814)
Nicknames: le Petit Caporal ("the Little Corporal"); Caporal la Violette ("Corporal Violet")note ; Le Général Entrepreneur ("the Contractor General")note ; Little Boneynote ; the Corsican Fiend; the Eaglenote 

A man who needs no introduction. Joséphine de Beauharnais, Napoléon Complexes, Austerlitz, Elba, and Waterloo are all fairly well ingrained in the popular imagination.

Began as an officer in the French revolutionary army. He called himself the Emperor of the French, was defeated in 1814 then 1815, and died in exile in Saint Helena. Aside from being one of the most brilliant generals of all time, Napoleon rebuilt France into a major European power, and created a system of law (the Code Napoléon) that proved instrumental in the development of many countries' modern legal systems.

Contrary to popular rumor, he wasn't actually short, either — a misconception caused by conversion errors between the English and French measuring systems of the time, combined with his Affectionate Nickname "le petit caporal" (the little corporal) for his camaraderie with ordinary soldiers, and the fact that his elite Old Guard were all considerably taller than himself, making him look short by comparison. As it turns out, he was of average height for a man of his era. Go figure.

"Napoléon II"

Lived: 20 March 1811 – 22 July 1832
Reigned: 4 April – 2 May 1814; 22 June – 7 July 1815 (disputed)
Parents: Emperor Napoléon I and Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma
Consort: n/a (never married)

Better known as the King of Rome (the title his father gave him in 1811 in analogy to that of the Prince of Wales (England and the United Kingdom) and of the Prince of Asturias (Spain) and which he lost in 1814) or the Duke of Reichstadt (since 1818) was Napoléon's son by his second wife, the Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria (a niece of Queen Marie-Antoinette).

Both in 1814 and in 1815, Napoleon I first tried to abdicate in favour of his son, but the Allies would have none of it, the first time he was made to abdicate again unconditionally, the second time they didn't even bother.

After his father's first abdication, he lived at his maternal grandfather's palace in Austria and never ruled in France. He died in 1832, aged twenty-one. The ill-fated Emperor Maximilian of Mexico was rumored to be his biological son.

Like Louis XVII, his reign is disputed, but the fact that his cousin would style himself "Napoléon III" means he is counted in the French regnal numbering system anyway.

    The Bourbons, Part II (1814–1815, 1815–1830) 

Lived: 17 November 1755 – 16 September 1824
Reigned: 3 May 1814 – 20 March 1815; 8 July 1815 – 16 September 1824
Parents: Louis, Dauphin of France, and Maria Josepha of Saxony
Spouse: Marie Joséphine of Savoy
Nickname: le Désiré ("the Desired")

Louis XVI's brother (it had become tradition for all princes to be given the name Louis). Referred to in works set before his ascension as Comte de Provence or "Monsieur".note  The Comte and his family fled France in 1791, around the time his brother the King attempted to do the same.

He returned after Napoléon's defeat in 1814 (the "Hundred Days" notwithstanding) and secured himself on the throne in the Bourbon Restoration. As king, Louis was savvy enough to recognize that the French Revolution had left permanent changes, so he willingly made himself a constitutional monarch (or at least, promulgated a Charter of Government that, while still insisting his power of kingship came down from God and not up from the people, was a de-facto constitution that limited his powers) and kept the least threatening reforms of the Revolution in place. This made him popular enough to not face a revolution himself, and France started to stabilize a bit under his reign.

He became quite fat in his later years, to the point of needing crutches or even a wheelchair to get around, at which point he started nicknaming himself "Le Roi Fauteuil" ("The Wheelchair King"). His opponents preferred to call him "Fat Pig". A combination of gout and diabetes gave him a particularly nasty Cruel and Unusual Death where he slowly rotted to death from gangrene.

"At the end of the month of August 1824, the dry grangrene that attacked one foot and the bottom of his spinal cord, created a large oozing wound at the bottom of his back and made him unrecognizable. Proudly, he refuses to lie down, quoting Vespasian: "An emperor dies standing up". But, on the 12th of September, his terrible suffering forces him to lie down. He is rotting alive and smells so foul that his own family cannot remain by his bedside. One of his eyes melted away; the room servant, trying to move his body, tear off bits of the right foot; the bones of one leg have decayed, the other one is just one gigantic wound, his face is black and yellow."

He died childless in 1824, leaving the throne to his surviving brother.

Charles X
Lived: 9 October 1757 – 6 November 1836
Reigned: 16 September 1824 – 2 August 1830
Parents: Louis, Dauphin of France, and Maria Josepha of Saxony
Consort: Marie Thérèse of Savoy

The younger brother of Louis XVI and Louis XVIII. Leader of the absolutist faction in the early stages of the Revolution In fact  he left France on the 16th of July 1789 (only two days after the Storming of the Bastille) and thus escaped Madame Guillotine. Under Louis XVIII, he became the head of the Ultra-royalist political group, defined by Chateaubriandnote  as being "plus royaliste que le roi" i.e. "more royalist than the King". He is referred to in works set before his ascension as Comte d'Artois or (after his brother's ascension) "Monsieur" (like his brother before him).

With his absolutist, Ultra-royalist background, it should come as no surprise that unlike Louis XVIII, Charles categorically refused to acknowledge the changes the Revolution had brought. Public opinion of him and his ministers rapidly soured as he attempted to use Screw the Rules, I Make Them! to circumvent the constitution and Parliament.

Attempts to clamp down on the rising discontent just made things worse, culminating in the July Revolution of 1830. As a result, Charles abdicated in favour of his grandson, but the Chamber of Deputies preferred to put a cousin, Louis-Philippe, on the throne.

As for Charles, he was exiled, first to England, then to Austria (at least, what was then part of Austria), where he died in Görz (now Gorizia, Italy). As his remains now lie in a monastery in what is now Slovenia, he is the only King of France to be buried outside the country (but not the only French monarch – more on that later).

Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême / "Louis XIX"

Lived: 6 August 1775 – 3 June 1844
Reigned: 2 August 1830 (20 minutes, disputed)
Parents: King Charles X and Marie Thérèse of Savoie
Consort: Marie Thérèse of France

Charles' son, and reigned as king for twenty minutes in 1830 – which, if it weren't disputed, would make him the shortest-reigning monarch in history. He was married to his cousin, Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte, the surviving daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, but they had no children. He and his family were disinherited during the July Revolution in favor of his cousin, Louis-Philippe. He died in 1844.

Henri, Count of Chambord / "Henri V"

Lived: 29 September 1820 – 24 August 1883
Reigned: 2–9 August 1830 (disputed)
Parents: Prince Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry, and Princess Maria Carolina of Naples and Sicily
Spouse: Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Este

Charles X's grandson, the posthumous child of his assassinated son Charles, duc de Berry. His grandfather abdicated in his favor in 1830, but Henri only reigned seven days before being driven into exile in Switzerland; he went by the title comte de Chambord, after one of the royal family's estates.

He had a very good chance of finally becoming king after the end of the Second Empire, but he wanted a return to an absolute monarchy and did not want to serve under the Republican tricolour, demanding a return to the old white banner with gold fleur-de-lis of the ancien regime.note  By then, most French—including all but the most die-hard conservative monarchists (the right wing of the "Legitimists")—agreed that the monarch ought to be a constitutional figurehead and wanted to keep the tricolour. More frustrating than anything, however, is that the count was an elderly bachelor by this point, meaning that the Orléanist pretender, Louis-Philippe, comte de Paris, would become king upon his death under the Salic Law the Legitimists recognized (as modified by the Treaty of Utrecht that cut the Spanish Bourbons from the French succession).

As a result, the Third Republic was established while waiting for Henri to die already, but six years before he did so, the people decided they didn't really want a monarchy anymore, and the monarchists lost their majority in the National Assembly.

    The Orléans (1830–1848) 

Louis Philippe I
Lived: 6 October 1773 – 26 August 1850
Reigned: 9 August 1830 – 24 February 1848
Parents: Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, and Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon
Consort: Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily
Nickname: The Citizen King

The last king of France (at least, so far).note 

His particular branch of the Bourbons, the most senior after the ruling line and that of Spain, was descended from a younger son of Louis XIII, the fabulous and effective general Philippe, duc d'Orléans. The Orléans branch was long famous for its cultivation of the arts and culture, and the Dukes of Orléans were generally noted as being far more liberal than most of the nobility, let alone the royal family; the ruling line was always suspicious of them, particularly as they would inherit the throne should the senior branch die out (the Spanish line descended from a younger grandson of Louis XIV had been excluded by the Treaty of Utrechtnote ).

They were right to be suspicious: Louis Philippe's father Philippe had been one of the aristocratic supporters of the Revolution, and had long used his position to support liberal causes. (A conspiracy theory held by many aristocratic conservatives—including Marie Antoinette and Louis XVIII—maintained that the Orléans branch was behind the whole revolution as a means of seizing the throne.) Louis Philippe's father Philippe even won a seat to the National Convention after the Republic was declared, renaming himself "Philippe Égalité" ("Philip Equality"). He voted in favor of the death penalty without appeal to the people for his cousin the King, but was nevertheless guillotined during the Reign of Terror when the Jacobins found him insufficiently radical.

Louis Philippe himself fought with distinction in the early Revolutionary Wars, but got caught up in a plot with the Austrians to restore the constitutional monarchy established in 1791. He spent the next several years in exile, at first in Switzerland, but later went to America (!) before settling in England. He returned from exile after Napoleon's defeat.

The Chamber of Deputies proclaimed him King in preference to Charles X's descendants in 1830, establishing a constitutional monarchy with some but highly limited powers for the King. The July Monarchy—as Louis-Philippe's regime was called—is considered to be an era in which the cautious, liberal bourgeoisie was most firmly in control of the country, slowly building a slightly more democratic regime, with the King acting as slow-builder-in-chief.

Slightly, because censorship was very active, and only people who owned a certain amount of property (i.e. the rich, or at least the reasonably-well-off) could vote. Of course, at the time, there were few places where anyone but the rich could vote (even in America, it was only in the 1830s that some states abolished property requirements, and it wasn't until 1860 or so that they were abandoned everywhere); it would thus be quite fair to call the July Monarchy what it more or less aspired to be: "England, but French."

His era can be summed ups with two quotes: Prime Minister François Guizot's bourgeois motto "Enrich yourselves!" (Enrichissez-vous!) and Romantic poet Alphonse de Lamartine's "France is bored" (La France s'ennuie).note 

It should come as no surprise that the prototypical tale of boring balanced bourgeois rationality, Madame Bovary, is set during Louis Philippe's reign. So self-consciously bourgeois was the era that the King himself was known to stroll around Paris with his own rolled-up umbrella.

Alas for the House of Orléans, the building proved to be too slow. Grumbling about censorship and social inequality gradually built over the years, and rather than let these voices take their place in the public sphere, the bourgeois liberal-conservative ministry led by François Guizot contented itself to up the censorship and play games with the electoral laws to prevent reformists from gaining a foothold. Meanwhile, although Louis-Philippe clearly saw the need for reform, he feared that the major reformist leaders—particularly Adolphe Thiers—were too nationalistic and aggressive in foreign policy matters, and would lead France into a disastrous war if allowed to take control (he was probably right about Thiers, but we'll never know). Louis Philippe therefore hesitated to call out Guizot on his shenanigans, recognizing that for all his faults, Guizot was the opposite of a warmonger.

Thus despite the umbrella-carrying, another revolution in 1848 forced Louis Philippe to abdicate in favor of his grandson Philippe. The Deputies were willing to keep the constitutional monarchy and install Philippe as King, but public opinion forced the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a Second Republic.

After abdicating, Louis Philippe decamped with his family to England, where he died in 1850. He and his wife's remains would be returned to France in 1876.

Philippe of Orléans, Count of Paris / "Louis Philippe II" / "Philippe VII"

Lived: 24 August 1838 – 8 September 1894
Reigned: 24 February 1848 – 26 February 1848 (disputed)
Parents: Prince Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans, and Duchess Helene of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Spouse: Infanta Maria Isabel of Spain

Louis Philippe's grandson. A liberal and democrat (like his father), Philippe had fought on the side of the Union in The American Civil War. His father attempted to abdicate to him after the 1848 Revolution, but the Second Republic was proclaimed instead.

In 1873, when the Second French Empire fell, there was a sufficient amount of monarchists in the French National Assembly that a return to the monarchy was considered, and as the heir of Louis Philippe I, Philippe was considered the heir to the throne by the Orléanists. Philippe also had the selling point that unlike Duke Henri of Chambord (see above), he had no objections to either constitutional monarchy or to the tricolor flag. However, he withdrew his claims to the throne in favour of Chambord. Chambord was old and childless, so when he died, his claim to the throne would pass under Salic Law to Philippe, but Chambord never recognized Philippe as his heir presumptive, and by the time he died, public opinion opposed a return to the monarchy. So Philippe's claim to the throne went unheeded.

    The Bonapartes, Part II (1852–1870) 

Napoléon III
Lived: 20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873
Reigned: 2 December 1852 – 4 September 1870
Parents: Louis Bonaparte, former King of Holland, and Hortense de Beauharnais
Consort: Eugénie de Montijo

Both the first president and last emperor of France. A nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte I, he got himself elected president in 1848, and then Emperor of the French in 1852.

Was a successful domestic leader, building a lot of important public works and infrastructure. Though there were some that weren't very fond of him – in particular, Victor Hugo.

Internationally, he was a blusterer and sometimes blunderer. He, more than any other French monarch, helped catalyze its' rise as a modern colonial power. He won wars from Tunisia to Vietnam and annexing Indochina, Tunisia, much of sub-Saharan Africa, and the Pacific islands to the French Empire.

In addition, he willingly allowed himself into being manipulated into allowing Sardinia to support France and Britain in the Crimean War. Paving the way for Count Camillo Benso di Cavour to envoke "you owe me one", a move that led to the crushing of their mutual enemy the Habsburg Empire and allowing the unification of Italy, giving Austria a kneecap it would never recover from.

However, Napoleon fumbled into a long-lasting war in Mexico, after trying to conquer it by installing a puppet ruler, giving that country Cinco de Mayo as a national holiday.

He also fell for the bait that Otto von Bismarck had laid, starting the Franco-Prussian War. In the last great battle of the war, Napoleon was captured at Sedan, and remained Bismarck's prisoner as Prussia's King Wilhelm I was pronounced Kaiser Wilhelm I – in the Palace of Versailles, no less – thus giving birth to that bane of France… a united Germany.

France's humiliating losses in the Franco-Prussian War sounded the death knell for the Second Empire, and the French Third Republic was proclaimed while Napoleon was still in German captivity. Bonapartists only won five seats in the 1871 National Assembly elections, and the new government made Napoleon's removal from power official and placed blame for the French defeat squarely on his shoulders.

By the time the Germans released Napoleon, he had been defeated, deposed, enfeebled, and completely humiliated. He didn't even have a home to go to as Empress Eugénie and the rest of the imperial family had been forced to flee the country. Like Louis-Philippe before him, he joined his family in exile in England, where he died in 1873. His last words were "Isn't it true that we weren't cowards at Sedan?” Unlike Louis-Philippe, his remains are still in England.

France has the bizarre and unenviable position of having no less than four claimants to the throne of France, each representing different dynastiesnote . Of course, given what they did to the last bunch... Hilariously lampshaded in John Steinbeck's The Short Reign of Pippin IV.

Depictions in fiction (for those without a specific page):

  • Louis VI the Fat: Les Visiteurs.
  • Louis VII: Baelor I "the Blessed" Targaryen is an Expy of Louis VII with some aspects of Saint Louis IX.
  • Philippe IV Le Bel and sons:
    • Dante Alighieri speaks to Hugues Capet in Canto 20 of the Purgatorio, where he is on the Fifth Terrace of Purgatory being purged of the sin of Avarice. Capet goes on to discuss the crimes of his descendants, even referring to himself as "the root of the evil tree which overshadows all Europe". Many of the crimes discussed are those of Philippe IV (king when Dante Alighieri was writing), who (among other things) had the gall to arrest Pope Boniface VIII. Boniface VIII, whom Dante had condemned to the Eighth Circle of Hell. Yeah, Dante really didn't like the King of France.
    • The Accursed Kings.
    • Assassin's Creed: Unity: He is seen in the cinematic of the burning of Jacques de Molay at the stake in 1314 seven years after ordering The Purge of The Knights Templar.
    • Philippe is the main villain of the series Knightfall, played by Ed Stoppard. His eldest son Louis (future Louis X) is a recurring character in the second season played by Tom Forbes.
  • Charles VI:
    • He and his family are portrayed quite unfavourably in William Shakespeare's Henry V, which makes sense considering it is technically propaganda (save perhaps his daughter Catherine of Valois, whom Henry V married as per the Treaty of Troyes.)
    • He's a supporting character played by Alex Lawther in The Last Duel, and is portrayed as a somewhat immature teenager (he was 18 at the end of the story). The movie is set six years before the first signs of his madness started manifesting.
  • Charles VII: A lot of works about Joan of Arc and the late stages of The Hundred Years War.
  • François I:
  • Charles IX, Henri III, Henri IV: La Reine Margot (book) and La Reine Margot (movie).
    • Henri IV: Heinrich Mann's (Thomas Mann brother) Die Jugend des Königs Henri Quatre and Die Vollendung des Königs Henri Quatre.
    • Charles IX is the main protagonist of French author Jean Teulé Charly 9.
  • Regency of Marie de Medici: Le Capitan, played by Lise Delamare.
  • Regency of Philippe d'Orléans: The novel Le Bossu by Paul Féval and its adaptations, including Le Bossu (1959, played by Paul Cambo) and On Guard (1997, played by Philippe Noiret, who had already played him in the 1975 film Que la fête commence).
  • Louis XVII:
    • Eldorado, the fourth Scarlet Pimpernel novel, has him rescued from captivity and smuggled out of France by the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. This plot is also used in some Scarlet Pimpernel screen adaptations, including the 1982 film and an episode of the 1999 TV series.
    • Vaincre ou Mourir: Vendée Royalist insurgency leader François Athanase Charette de La Contrie sees Louis XVII in a dream. The next morning, Charette receives a letter announcing the death of Louis at the Temple Tower prison in Paris.
  • Louis XVIII:
  • Napoléon Bonaparte: See here.
  • Louis-Philippe:
  • Napoleon III: Victor Hugo roasted him in the poetic pamphlets Napoléon le Petit and Les Châtiments.
    • He also plays a prominent role in the Voice of the People DLC of Victoria 3, which adds numerous events and mechanics for France. Should he successfully cement himself as a monarch of France, France will become the French Empire.

Other things related to French monarchs in media: