Monarchs/Leaders of France
Note: Names with a hyphen (-) after them have descriptions. Click on the names to see these descriptions.


Hugh Capet, Count of Paris (987-996)-

started the Capetian Line (lasted 341 years)

Robert II, the Pious (996-1031)

Henri I (1031-1060)

Philippe I (1060-1108)

Louis VI, the Fat (1108-1137)-

husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Louis VII (1137-1180)-

helped lead Second Crusade

Philippe II Auguste (1180-1223)-

participated in Third Crusade

Louis VIII (1223-1226)

led Seventh Crusade

Louis IX (Saint Louis) (1226-1270)

Philippe III the Bold (1270-1285)

Philippe IV the Fair (1285-1314)

Louis X (1314-1316)

Jean I (1316)

Philippe V (1316-1322)

Charles IV (1322-1328)-

issued the Golden Bull [Remember: The Golden Bull of 1356 lasted for more than 400 years and stated that the Holy Roman Emperor would be chose by seven princes, which later were three Protestants, three Catholics, and the former Holy Roman Emperor.]


Philip VI (1328-1350)-

claimed the English throne rather than allowing Edward III of England to take it [Remember: This is one of the causes of the Hundred Years’ War.]; was the first French leader to be elected

John II (1350-1364)

Charles V (1364-1380)

Charles VI (1380-1422)

Charles VII (1422-1461)-

tested Joan of Arc by switching clothes with a servant; monarch of England during end of Hundred Years’ War Louis XI “the Spider” (1461-1483)- united the French states into a unified France

Charles VIII (1483-1498)-

was invited by Milan to interfere in the Italian Wars by taking the crown of Naples

Louis XII (1498-1515)-

claimed Milan but couldn’t maintain control; defeated Swiss mercenaries at Marignano

Francis I (1515-1545)-

one of the three main fighters of the Italian Wars [Remember: Francis I signed the Treaty of Madrid after losing the Italian Wars against Henry VIII and Charles I (Holy Roman Emperor Charles V). He quickly went against this treaty, resumed the war, won with Henry VIII on his side, and signed the final Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis.]

Henry II (1547-1559)-

resumed fighting with England; died in a jousting match; death led to French wars of religion [Remember: Henry II resumed fighting England because he was imprisoned until Francis I fulfilled the terms of the Treaty of Madrid, which he didn’t. The French wars of religion involved a struggle between the Guise and Bourbons and included incidents such as Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.]

Francis II (1559-1560)-

took throne at age 15; married Mary Queen of Scots, allowed Guise to dominate offices, was not very healthy and died young

Charles IV (1560-1574)-

brother of Francis II; took throne at age 10; his mother Catherine de Medicis was regent

Henry III (1574-1589)-

lost the war of the three Henrys against Henry Guise and Henry of Navarre (see below) [Remember: Henry III invited Henry Guise to a meeting in his bedroom and stabbed him to death. Henry III was eventually killed as well.]


Henry IV of Navarre (1589-1610)-

escaped Bartholomew’s Day Massacre; “Henry Bourbon”; was a Protestant that ended the French wars of religion by converting to Catholicism, saying “Paris is worth a mass.”; won the war of the three Henrys; had 18 attempted assassinations on his life and was finally stabbed to death [Remember: Catherine de Medicis arranged a wedding between Henry IV and Margaret to symbolize an alliance between the crown and protestants. Catholics took advantage of this and killed Protestants in Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.]

Louis XIII (1610-1643)-

took throne at age 8; had Catherine de Medicis as regent and Richelieu as a “favorite”; declared war on Philip IV during the Thirty Years’ War

Louis XIV (1643-1715)-

took throne at age 16; the “Sun King”; had Anne of Austria as regent and Mazarin as a “favorite”

Louis XV (1715-1774)-

avoided war and stabilized French currency

Louis XVI (1774-1792)-

took throne at age 20; overthrown during French Revolution; had Turgot then Necker then Calonne then de Brienne as controller generals of finance; called meeting of Estates-General; liked playing with locks; helped U.S. during revolution, putting France further in debt

Revolution/First Republic

The National Assembly (1789-1791)-

former Third Estate; began with the Tennis Court Oath; had National Guard under General Lafayette; established the Civil Constitution of the Clergy to confiscate church lands

The Legislative Assembly (1791-1792)-

elected by the Constitution of 1791 which made Louis XVI “Louis, by the grace of God and the constitutional law of the state, King of the French”

The National Convention (1792–1795)-

took power by force; executed Louis XVI after he tried to escape; established the Committee of Public Safety which was later controlled by Robespierre during the Rein of Terror, ended with the Thermidorean Reaction

The Directory (1795–1799)-

tried to deal with financial crisis and foreign wars

The Consulate (Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul, 1802–1804) (1799–1804)-

ruled by a Triumvirate of Consuls; Napoleon became First Consul then First Consul for life

The First Empire

Napoleon I (Napoleon Bonaparte), (1804-1815)-

born in Corsica; conquered most of Europe; created the Continental System against Britain; seized the Rosetta Stone; enacted the Concordat of 1801 which made Catholicism the religion of France again; enacted the Napoleonic Codes which codified French law (like Common Law of England); fought the Napoleonic Wars; invaded Russia and lost because of cold winter; banished to island of Elba; returned after the Hundred Days of banishment, defeated at Waterloo and banished to island of St. Helena

Bourbon Restoration

Louis XVII -

never actually reined

Louis XVIII (1814-1824)-

given power by the Congress of Vienna that dealt with the end of the Napoleonic Wars; given power by the Congress of Vienna that dealt with the end of the Napoleonic Wars; accepted a constitutional monarchy

Charles X (1824-1830)-

assumed throne and dedicated himself to restoring the kingship as it was before revolution; aligned monarchy with Catholic church; had ultraroyalists run government; had elections that turned out a majority against him; enacted the Four Ordinances which censored press and changed electoral vote in his favor; called for elections again, but living conditions were terrible and led to the July 1830 revolts; fled to England

House of Bourbon-Orléans

Louis Philippe (1830–48)-

head of the July Monarchy; lowered voting age from 30-25; still required land to vote; doubled electorate; overthrown 1948 when big banquet was cancelled

Second Republic

Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (president) (1848–52)-

created Provisional Government head by Blanc; also had the Luxembourg Commission and national workshops

Second Empire

Napoleon III (Louis Napoleon Bonaparte) (1852–70)-

(same as above) made himself monarch [Remember: Charles X did the same.]; was overthrown during Franco-Prussian War

Third Republic

Louis Jules Trochu (provisional) (1870–1871)

Adolphe Thiers (1871–1873)

Marie Edmé Patrice de MacMahon (1873–1879)

Jules Grévy (1879–1887)

Sadi Carnot (1887–1894)

Jean Paul Pierre Casimir-Périer (1894–1895)

Félix Faure (1895–1899)

Émile François Loubet (1899–1906)

Armand Fallières (1906–1913)

Raymond Poincaré (1913–1920)

Paul Eugène Louis Deschanel (1920)

Alexandre Millerand (1920–1924)

Gaston Doumergue (1924–1931)

Paul Doumer (1931–1932)

Albert Lebrun (1932–1940)

Vichy Government

Henri Philippe Pétain (chief of state) (1940–1944)-

led collaborative government in southeast France during World War II; aided the Nazis voluntarily and provided them with additional victims for the holocaust

Provisional Government

Charles de Gaulle, president (1944–1946)-

president after World War II; led the Free French Government movement from London that controlled an underground guerrilla force that disrupted Nazi operation in France during World War II

Fourth Republic

Georges Bidault (provisional) (1946)

Vincent Auriol (1947–54)

René Coty (1954–58)

Fifth Republic

Charles de Gaulle (1958–69)

Georges Pompidou (1969–74)

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (1974–81)

François Mitterrand (1981–95)

Jacques Chirac (1995– )