Name : Louis of France
Date of birth : July 3, 1423, in Bourges.
Date of death : August 30, 1483, at the Château du Plessis-lès-Tours
King of France : from July 22, 1461 to August 30, 1483
Wife : Margaret of Scotland (from 1436 to 1445), then Charlotte of Savoy (from 1451 to 1483).
Mother : Marie d’Anjou.
Father : Charles VII
It is an understatement to say that the image left by Louis XI in popular culture is not flattering. His well-known representations draw the silhouette of a king with an ungrateful physique, the stories of his contemporaries (Thomas Basin, Legend of Louis XI) depict a cruel, calculating and devious king. And yet, the legacy left by the sovereign is substantial, particularly in terms of domestic policy.
A clever strategist, he reinforced the royal power by bringing the great feudal lords to heel (in particular the bellicose Charles the Bold, Duke of the powerful Burgundy) and considerably widened the borders of the kingdom. He also contributed to the “modernization” of the kingdom, notably creating the post office service and encouraging the development of printing. He also reformed the royal army at great expense and increased, to this end, taxes and duties (multiplied by three under his reign).
His fate is associated with great rivalries:
- The one with his father Charles VII against whom he will go so far as to conspire and wage war with the support of the houses of Savoy and Dauphiné.
- That with his cousin the powerful Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold, against whom he led a conflict of almost 10 years (1468-1477).
At the royal castle of Amboise
If the king favored his fief of Plessis-lès-Tours for his own residence, he chose to install his wife Charlotte of Savoy and his children in the royal castle of Amboise. The square is indeed considered both safe and healthy. To this end, the monarch had the premises renovated. The building still retained the configuration of a medieval fortress, but the first significant elements of comfort were added.
It was in Amboise, on August 1, 1469, that Louis XI founded the Order of Chivalry of Saint Michel, under the name “Ordre et amiable compagnie de Monsieur Saint Michel”.
It was also in Amboise that Louis XI signed, on March 12, 1470, the letter officially establishing the royal silk factories in Tours. It was the beginning of a golden age for the industry in Touraine, silkworm farms and plantations being created in the countryside to supply the Touraine silk factories. Echoing this historic episode, a mulberry conservatory was inaugurated at the royal castle of Amboise in the spring of 2022.
To see at the Royal Castle of Amboise
The exhibition “knights of the order of Saint Michael, royal spearhead”, from 05/17 to 08/28/2023
The exhibition “The adventures of Louis Croix-bâton in Amboise”, from 05/17 to 08/28/2023
The mulberry conservatory