You will often hear about the different Kings, Queens and Presidents of France. The list will help you organise some sort of time frame for them.
France has had a continuous rule since the 400s, though of course what was known as “France” was very different then from now. Remember that England had quite extensive land holdings in France, inherited through William of Normandy and by later marriages with French princesses.
You will note that some of the early monarchs have quite graphic nicknames! Only some of the more famous early kings have been listed. It seems the French were quite unimaginative when it came to picking names for the heirs to the throne! Later on, you will see that nicknames are used to differentiate between the many kings who shared the same name.
It is also interesting to note how life expectancy changed – remembering of course that rulers belonged to the privileged classes!
A list of Presidents is at the end. The period following World War II was very volatile, for example, there were three Presidents during 1946! The list also explains some "popular" street names that are used in France.
Dagobert ruled from 629 to 639
Charlemagne's Empire covered a large amount of Europe. A clever and powerful monarch, he never learned to read and write! He ruled from 768 to 814
François 1er who ruled 1515 to 1547 is remembered as a ladies' man, who built the Chateau of Chambord.
Henri IV was known as the "Vert Galant" or "Gentleman" because of his dashing character and many exploits with the ladies. He oversaw French expansion overseas, and colonies in Canada.
François 1er built the château of Chambord. He loved hunting and the ladies!
Louis XIV was known as the Sun King, or Le Roi Soleil. He is one of the best known Kings of France. He ruled from 1643 to 1715, the longest reign in France.
Louis XV was the great-grandson of Louis XIV and succeeded to the throne when he was only five years old. Extravagance and wars during his reign laid the ground for the French Revolution.
Louis XVI was the grandson of Louis XV. He was sent to the guillotine during the French Revolution.
Napoleon III declared himself to be the Emperor of the French. He was a nephew of the original Napoleon. Unfortunately his surrendur and France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 caused him to flee the country. A republic was declared.
Charles de Gaulle became President after World War II and led the country out of poverty and despair.