• Places,  Renaissance

    Secrets of History looks at Catherine de Medici’s influence on Loire Chateaux

    You can’t travel across the Loire Valley without encountering Catherine de Medici. During her time as Queen of France and Regent, she exerted an incredible influence on the locations where the court worked and played. Thanks to our friends at Secrets of History, Catherine’s long- reaching influence of the chateaux of the Loire Valley comes to life in this video. It’s in French with no subtitles, but it’s well worth a view. When you’re through watching that video, take a look at this one about the chateaux of the Loire Valley. The most “Catherine” of the chateaux by far is Chenonceau. I remember over twenty years ago watching a show…

  • 1500s,  Huguenot,  Mistress

    The unsung architects of the Edict of Nantes (yes, they were women)

    The Unsung (Female) Architects of the Edict of Nantes. If you have Huguenot ancestry, or if you’ve studied 16th French history, you’ve no doubt heard of the Edict of Nantes, which Henry IV of France promulgated on this day in 1588. Henry is celebrated by historians for being pragmatic and good natured enough to unite the Protestant and Catholic factions of France after a century of bloody religious warfare, which led to the proclamation that French Protestants would be hereafter be given equal rights as Catholics under French law. While that’s essentially true, the official story handed down by scholars leaves out two essential figures who shepherded the Edict through…

  • Behind the scenes

    Did you know that there’s a Facebook Page for French Historical Fiction? It’s true!

    I’ve been extremely blessed to be part of a group of writers who specialize in French history from the cave paintings to about 1900. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we’ve joined forces to promote our love of French history and historical fiction based in France. Today on April Fool’s Day, Ann Mc Clellan wrote about court jesters, and the role they played in French royal courts. If I managed to understand the code embed from Facebook, Ann’s post will appear here: Each of us take turns writing every Friday about various aspects of French history and culture. While we try to identify ourselves at the end of…

  • 1500s,  Videos

    Learn more about Francis I of France through this You Tube documentary

    Although Francis I’s reign occurred a little earlier than most of my books, his influence over Renaissance France can’t be overstated. Francis is responsible for ushering in the full French Renaissance, which was in its earliest stages before he took the throne. As soon as he became King, he set about pushing Renaissance ideals to the French court, making the French Renaissance centered amongst the nobility instead of every level of French society as the Italian Renaissance had This short documentary includes images and interviews with historians about Francis’s life and reign.

  • 1500s

    Keira Morgan looks at the effectiveness of the King’s Scrofula

    There’s a mystic aspect to kingship, and one of the most common mystical beliefs is that a royal representative of God has the power to cure. For most of its history, France believed that its monarchs could cure Scrofula. Keira Morgan, author of The Importance of Pawns, takes a closer look at a belief that lasted for almost a millennia.

  • Mistress,  Videos

    Exploring the remains of a chateau owned by a royal mistress

    Unfortunately, there is very little out there to explore about the life of Catherine Henriette de Balzac d’Entragues, Marquise de Verneuil. She was so reviled during her lifetime for being a greedy mistress with no boundaries or sense of decency, and that reputation has persisted throughout the centuries since the early 1600s. The Chateau de Verneuil, which Henry IV gave to his mistress during their happier days lies mostly in ruins since the days of the Revolution. To see what’s left of it, watch these short videos (in French) on You Tube.

  • Mistress

    Want to learn more about Gabrielle d’Estrees? Start here

    You may be familiar with the story of Gabrielle d’Estrees, the woman who Henry IV loved so much that he eventually agreed to her despite the fact that she had little political clout outside of France and she was already his Baby Mama thrice over.   If Gabrielle is an unknown figure to you, there’s quite a bit of tragedy in her life.  I won’t spoil the story for you, but if you want to get a succinct overview, start with Wikipedia. Gabrielle is one of Henry IV’s most renowned mistresses, due in part to his decision to make her Queen of France and due in part to the criticism of…