Online resources for sixteenth and seventeenth-century French history – museums, châteaux and institutions

Despite the herculean efforts of librarians all over, not least those at my home institution, some of my students have been struggling to get hold of useful resources for essays as they are based at home and online, without a physical library to get to. Here are some of the things that I have shared with them as useful places to look online – I will try to deal with libraries and archives in a separate post. I have mainly linked to English language pages where they exist. If you have suggestions for anything else to add, please do get in touch.

Jocande is an extensive database of objects and images in the main public and private galleries and museums in France. It is in French, so search for ‘Henri’, not ‘Henry’

Carnavalet – the website for the Musée Carnavalet, which explores the history of Paris – in French and English

Musée nationale de le Renaissance – the website for the National Museum of the Renaissance at Écouen – in French and English

Châteaux de la Loire – tourist website for Loire châteaux in French, English and German. Not an academic resource, but some useful links to other sites, and gives a simple overview of key sites

Château royal de Blois – useful website about Blois, with some useful historical notes in French and English

Château d’Angers – Monument national, with brief history section in English

Château d’Amboise – site of some of the key moments of the Wars of Religion – overview of the history in English

Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye – now the musée d’archéologie nationale, there is a section on the history of the château in English

Château de Fontainebleau – useful sections on history and architecture under the ‘Explore the Château’ section on the English pages

Château de Chennonceaux – english-language pages, including history of the château

Château d’Anet – french-language site for this residence associated with Diane de Poitiers

Château de Montaigne – in English, with notes in its famous owner

Palace of Versailles – includes an online tour of the palace and a video history

History of the Louvre – as well as the extensive pages about the museum’s collections – many of which will be of interest to early modernists – there’s a useful history of the building(s)

Atlas historique de Paris – French-language site charting the evolution of the capital, with some excellent visualisations and reproductions of old maps

Explore the world of Louis XIV – useful overview from the Voltaire foundation at the University of Oxford

L’Édit de Nantes et ses antécédants (1562-1598) – Sorbonne project (in French) with text and notes on the edicts of pacification from the period of the Wars of Religion

Basilique-cathédrale de Saint-Denis – link to the English-language history section of the national monument website

Notre Dame de Paris – French-language history pages from the official website

Église Saint-Eustache – English-language history pages from the official website

Musée de l’Armée – English-language site of the museum at Invalides, with links to details about the collections. This also includes a link to the website of one of my favourite museums, the musée des Plans reliefs, but that site is only in French – ‘Présentation de la collection’ under ‘Le Musée’ explains how this collection dates back to the reign of Louis XIV and its foreign policy circumstances

Textile Museum (Lyon) – French-language website for this fascinating museum, which mainly focuses on later periods, but which does chart Lyon’s history as a centre for silk production since the early modern period

Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communication graphique (Lyon) – English-language overview of the museum, with discussion of Lyon’s historic printing industry – more extensive resources available for French speakers

Les Gobelins – site for the Mobilier nationale (in French) with information about collections

Musée des Arts Decoratifs (Paris) – link to the collections pages (in English)

Jardin des Plantes – English-language overview of the history of the Jardin des Plantes

Académie française – Very detailed site (in French) about the history and activities of this institution

Institut de France – includes french-language overview of the foundation of the constituent academies and the Collège des Quatre Nations

Sadly, one of my favourite online resources, Henri IV: An Unfinished Reign is now only accessible onsite at the BNF, but if you find yourself there in the future, it is really worth a look.


The Huguenot Museum – the only museum of Huguenot history in the UK, with links to the French Hospital. The ‘Collections’ tab leads to treasures…

Musée Internationale de la Réforme/International Museum of the Reformation – multi-lingual site supporting the very swanky International museum of the Reformation in Geneva. The ‘Treasures’ in particular are interesting. Sadly, I can’t find a link to the chocolate Calvins they sold in the gift shop the last time I was there…



Published by


Associate Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Leeds. Interested in all things early modern, European, news & print-culture and higher ed teaching related.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s