Charles IX's grand tour of France

Last updated
A map of Charles IX's grand tour of France Charles IX grand tour de France map.svg
A map of Charles IX's grand tour of France
Charles IX in 1561 by Francois Clouet Francois Clouet 005.jpg
Charles IX in 1561 by François Clouet
Catherine de Medicis with her children in 1561: Francois, Charles IX, Marguerite and Henri Caterina e i figli.jpg
Catherine de Médicis with her children in 1561: François, Charles IX, Marguerite and Henri

The grand tour of France was a royal progress around France by Charles IX of France, set up his mother Catherine de Medici to show him his kingdom, which had just been ravaged by the first of the French Wars of Religion. It set off from Paris on 24 January 1564 (a year after he reached his legal majority) and returned there on 1 May 1566. Accompanied by his family and Catherine as queen-mother, the king covered nearly 400 kilometres around the remotest border areas of the kingdom, starting in the east, running along the eastern frontier as far as Provence before turning west, reaching the Atlantic Ocean in Gascony, then moving back up the Loire valley and finishing in the Bourbonnais.


His entourage was around 15,000 strong, including a military escort, his privy council, servants carrying his tapestries, coffers and other furniture, artisans, princes and ambassadors. It was a staged display of royal power in the wake of the first war of religion, to compensate for the throne's weakness in the provinces and to forge the kingdom's unity around himself by strengthening ties of loyalty to the monarchy. On each leg of the journey his fore-runners had a rush to find lodgings for him - in the large towns he slept in the town-house of that city's richest citizen (who had to move out during the king's stay), but more often he slept in inns. Finding lodgings was a real problem, for the court accompanying him and his family was made up of several thousand people, with its major lords each using their agents to find lodgings before anyone else - in short, first come, first served. Many lords thus had to sleep outside wherever the king lodged.



Champagne and the duchy of Lorraine


The Lyonnais and the Dauphiné

The Comtat Venaissin and Provence



Angoumois, Saintonge, Aunis and Poitou

Loire Valley and Brittany

The Bourbonnais and the Auvergne

Return to Paris


Sources and bibliography

Related Research Articles

Mary, Queen of Hungary 14th century Queen of Hungary and Croatia

Mary, also known as Maria of Anjou, reigned as Queen of Hungary and Croatia between 1382 and 1385, and from 1386 until her death. She was the daughter of Louis the Great, King of Hungary and Poland, and his wife, Elizabeth of Bosnia. Mary's marriage to Sigismund of Luxembourg, a member of the imperial Luxembourg dynasty, was already decided before her first birthday. A delegation of Polish prelates and lords confirmed her right to succeed her father in Poland in 1379.

Catherine de Medici 16th-century Italian noblewoman and queen consort of France

Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman. She also was queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, by marriage to King Henry II, and mother of kings Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III from 1559 to 1589. The years during which her sons reigned have been called "the age of Catherine de' Medici" as she had extensive, if at times varying, influence in the political life of France.

Henry IV of France First French king of the House of Bourbon

Henry IV, also known by the epithet Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.

Francis II of France King of France

Francis II was King of France from 1559 to 1560. He was also King consort of Scotland as a result of his marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, from 1558 until his death in 1560.

Charles IX of France King of France

Charles IX was King of France from 1560 until his death in 1574 from tuberculosis. He ascended the throne of France upon the death of his brother Francis II in 1560.

Louis XIII King of France

Louis XIII was King of France from 1610 to 1643 and King of Navarre from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown.

Louis XII of France King of France

Louis XII was King of France from 1498 to 1515 and King of Naples from 1501 to 1504. The son of Charles, Duke of Orléans, and Maria of Cleves, he succeeded his cousin Charles VIII, who died without direct heirs in 1498.

French Wars of Religion Civil war from 1562–98

The French Wars of Religion were a prolonged period of war and popular unrest between Catholics and Huguenots in the Kingdom of France between 1562 and 1598. It is estimated that three million people perished in this period from violence, famine, or disease in what is considered the second deadliest religious war in European history.

St. Bartholomews Day massacre Massacre of Huguenots

The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 was a targeted group of assassinations and a wave of Catholic mob violence, directed against the Huguenots during the French Wars of Religion. Traditionally believed to have been instigated by Queen Catherine de' Medici, the mother of King Charles IX, the massacre took place a few days after the wedding day of the king's sister Margaret to the Protestant Henry III of Navarre. Many of the most wealthy and prominent Huguenots had gathered in largely Catholic Paris to attend the wedding.

Stephen Gardiner English bishop (1497-1555)

Stephen Gardiner was an English bishop and politician during the English Reformation period who served as Lord Chancellor during the reign of Queen Mary I and King Philip.

France in the Middle Ages History of France during the Middle Ages

The Kingdom of France in the Middle Ages was marked by the fragmentation of the Carolingian Empire and West Francia (843–987); the expansion of royal control by the House of Capet (987–1328), including their struggles with the virtually independent principalities that had developed following the Viking invasions and through the piecemeal dismantling of the Carolingian Empire and the creation and extension of administrative/state control in the 13th century; and the rise of the House of Valois (1328–1589), including the protracted dynastic crisis of the Hundred Years' War with the Kingdom of England (1337–1453) compounded by the catastrophic Black Death epidemic (1348), which laid the seeds for a more centralized and expanded state in the early modern period and the creation of a sense of French identity.

Kingdom of Navarre Medieval Basque kingdom that occupied the lands around the western Pyrenees

The Kingdom of Navarre, originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a Basque kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France.

William I of Württemberg King of Württemberg

William I was King of Württemberg from 30 October 1816 until his death.

Margaret of Valois Queen consort of France

Margaret of Valois was a French princess of the Valois dynasty who became queen consort of Navarre and later also of France. By her marriage to Henry III of Navarre, she was queen of Navarre and then France at her husband's 1589 accession to the latter throne.

Siege of Rouen (1562)

The Siege of Rouen was a key military engagement of the first French Wars of Religion. After having been seized by those opposing the crown on 16 April, the siege, beginning on 28 May and culminating on 26 October brought the important city of Rouen back into the crowns control. The fall of Rouen would set the stage for the main battle of the war at Dreux several months later.

Massacre of Vassy

The massacre of Vassy was the murder of Huguenot worshippers and citizens in an armed action by troops of Francis, Duke of Guise, in Wassy, France, on 1 March 1562. The massacre is identified as the first major event in the French Wars of Religion. The series of battles that followed concluded in the signing of the Peace of Amboise the next year, on 19 March 1563.

<i>Fantaghirò</i> (TV series) television series

Fantaghirò is a 1999 Spanish-Italian fantasy animated television series based on the Italian live-action film series Fantaghirò. It was created by BRB Internacional with animation by Colorland Animation Production, written by Francesca Melandri, Giovanni Romoli and Lamberto Bava, produced by Mediaset, Telecinco and Grupo Planeta, with music by Mark Bradley and Terry Wilson. A 75-minute animated film Fantaghirò: Quest for the Kuorum edited together using footage from the series was released in 2000.

Mad War late Medieval conflict between a coalition of feudal lords and the French monarchy

The Mad War was a late medieval conflict between a coalition of feudal lords and the French monarchy. It occurred during the regency of Anne of Beaujeu in the period after the death of Louis XI and before the majority of Charles VIII. The war began in 1485 and ended in 1488.

Spanish conquest of Iberian Navarre A war in the early sixteenth century

The Spanish conquest of the Iberian part of Navarre was initiated by Ferdinand II of Aragon and completed by his grandson and successor Charles V in a series of military campaigns lasting from 1512 to 1524. Ferdinand was both the king of Aragon and regent of Castile in 1512. When Pope Julius II declared a Holy League against France in late 1511, Navarre attempted to remain neutral. Ferdinand used this as an excuse to attack Navarre, conquering it while its potential protector, France, was beset by England, Venice, and Ferdinand's own Italian armies.

Jeanne dAlbret Queen of Navarre

Jeanne d'Albret, also known as Jeanne III, was the queen regnant of Navarre from 1555 to 1572. She married Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme, becoming the Duchess of Vendôme and was the mother of Henri de Bourbon, who became King Henry III of Navarre and IV of France, the first Bourbon king of France.