Joan of Arc saved France. When she died, she left behind a nation revived, but not yet rebuilt. Four kings worked on that project: Charles VII, Louis XI, Charles VIII, and Francis I. During the 100 years that these four kings governed, France began to rebuild its frontiers, its government, and its economy. All four of them contributed to the success of modern France. The one genius among them was Louis XI, one of the most brilliant kings who ever lived. But louis was a man not easy to like. His father began the project, he continued what his father began, and his son continued what he had achieved. Finally, a man who was no genius, Francis I, continued their work almost to the mid sixteenth century.

Charles VII, 1403-1461, reign, 1422-1461

Louis XI, 1423-1483, reign, 1461-1483

Charles VIII, 1470-1498, reign, 1483-1498

Louis XII, 1462-1515, reign, 1498-1515

1415 Battle of Agincourt

1422 Death of King Henry VI Death of King Charles VI

1422 King Charles VII succeeds to throne (Charles, 1403-1461)

1429 Joan of Arc comes to Charles at Chinon

1429 July 17, Rheims, coronation of King Charles VII

1431 Burn Joan of Arc in Rouen (The English control Rouen)

1435 Charles signs peace treaty (Treaty of Arras) with Duke Philip III of Burgundy

1451 Louis marries Charlotte of Savoy.

1456 trouble between Charles and son Louis, Louis flees to uncle Duke of Burgundy

1461 Aug 30, death of Charles VII, succession of his son Louis XI (King, 1461-1483)


1461 Louis comes to Paris accompanied by his protector, his uncle Duke Philip of Burgundy (Louis has been living at the court of Burgundy)

1467 death of Duke Philip of Burgundy, son Charles the Bold becomes Duke. he and Louis know each other extremely well since had lived together, Burgundy

1468 Meeting at Peronne, Crisis (Commines) Louis escapes with his life.

1472-1476 War between France and Burgundy.

1476 France/Louis wins.

1476 death of Duke Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in Switzerland battle.

1483 death of King Louis XI. son Charles VIII to throne.

1491 Charles VIII marries the Duchess of Brittany, Anne.

1494 French invasion of Italy led by Charles VIII

1498 death of Charles VIII, cousin Louis of Orleans becomes Louis XII.


Here is an excellent general history of France that will be very useful for our entire year.

Alistair Horne,

La Belle France,

Vintage paperbacks,

ISBN 1400034876


"Fascinating. . . . Engaging. . . . Filled with 'hot-blooded' kings, royal mistressesÉand tales of cruelty, treachery and even, occasionally, heart-warming loyalty."

–San Francisco Chronicle

"[Horne] is a virtuoso of the character sketch and the illuminating vignette. . . . La Belle France, with its refreshingly subjective style, possesses more treasures than a whole wall full of textbooks."

–The Wall Street Journal

"A breathtaking tour of French history, from its earliest kings through the Mitterrand government. . . . There are few countries with a more fascinating history than France."

–The Seattle Times

"A useful and charming introduction to a nation that has oh-so-definitely helped make the modern world what it is. . . . Horne does a service in helping the reader navigate the complexities of French history."

–Los Angeles Times