When Paris became capital?

Jan 2014
1,010
Rus
#1
Question appeared in neighboring topic.

MamlukWarrior wrote:

Clovis made Paris his capital, and it stayed that way from 508–768, over 200 years.
and

Aahen was not even the capital for 100 years while Paris has been the capital for 260 years before and 1,175 years since.
I was quite surprised by such statements. So decided to read some about it. What i have seen:

Only third son of Clovis got Paris. Eldest son Theuderic got Rheims. Looks like Rheims was official main town, which was important for kings title. But in reality Theuderic lived in Metz.

Next 100 years there were hash of kings and princes which stayed in Metz, Soissons, Paris, Orlean. So Paris were only one of main towns.

Paris wasnt dominant town in Church's history too. Only several not primary Councils gathered in Paris (whole list). Rheims cathedra was superior for Paris.

In reality Paris became something like capital during the reign of Chlothar II. I didnt read after him yet, but i know that there were several Roi faineant . So their residence in Paris didnt mean much. Later Charlemagne lived in Austrasia.

So, how do you think. When did Paris become real capital of the state?

...I am not certain about XV-XVI centuries even. Because i know that many Estates General gathered not in Paris.
 
Likes: Futurist

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
26,232
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#2
The first question would be:

"capital of what?"

Of France?

You need proper France to have the capital of France.

Paris was the capital of the Franks [and a little time before it was still "Lutetia Parisiorum"] until Charles ["Hammer"] preferred Aahen to it, so Clovis made Paris the Capital of the Franks, not of France [France wasn't yet].

What we can say is that since modern France was the Western Kingdom of the Franks, by extension we can say that Paris is capital since that far past. But sure not of France.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,178
Las Vegas, NV USA
#3
Hugh Capet is generally considered the first king of France. He was born in Paris and had the title Count of Paris before being crowned King of France. Because much of France later came under English rule its hard to trace the status of Paris. In Joan of Arc's time French kings were crowed in Reims. At least from the time of Francis I believe the capital remained in Paris.

Hugh Capet - Wikipedia
 
Oct 2018
26
Belgium
#4
I've never heard of Hugues Capet being considered the first King of France, every French list I have ever seen starts with Clovis I. Almost all French Kings were crowned in Reims from Louis I the Pious in 816 onwards. (The very last one, Louis Philippe, deliberately broke with the tradition.) This has got nothing to do with Reims being considered some sort of capital city, it was just there that by tradition the sacrament of the royal unction was administered. Hugues Capet comes much later, in 987 (it's rather unclear where he was crowned, the whole episode surrounding him seizing the throne in a complicated succession dispute is rather murky). Count of Paris was not that important a title, before becoming King he goes by Duke of the Franks. As King, he is still styled, exactly as Clovis I and Louis I were, King of the Franks. It's only from Philippe II Auguste (1180- 1223) onwards that the title King of France is used.

Anyway, the concept of a "capital" in the present-day sense doesn't really arise until much later. The centre of power is wherever the King is, and medieval courts were quite peripatetic outfits. There is no concept of a permanent central government administration, always located in the same city. The reason Paris eventually got this status was that it was the biggest town in the Île-de-France, the crown estate, which for a long time was the only part of France the King wielded real direct power over, and where he therefore tended to spend a lot of time. Plus of course it also became the biggest city in France, and for quite a while in Europe.
 
Sep 2012
3,783
Bulgaria
#5
Regarding the first King of France I suppose Philip Augustus from the House of Capet was the first one. His title was 'Roi de France', whilst the title of his predecessors was 'Roi des 'Francs'/'Rex Francorum' and they reigned over Regnum Francorum / Francia occidentalis / Regnum Francorum occidentalium.

Philip II of France - Wikipedia

EDIT: It should be noted that Holy Roman Emperors also used the title 'Rex Francorum' according to Salic law along with 'Rex/Imperator Romanorum'

Salic law - Wikipedia
 
Last edited:

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,178
Las Vegas, NV USA
#6
I've never heard of Hugues Capet being considered the first King of France, every French list I have ever seen starts Clovis
Yes. Most lists do start with Clovis but Clovis was a Frank and King of the Frankish Kingdom which later begat the West Frankish Kingdom and East Frankish Kingdom. The West Frankish Kingdom is considered the direct ancestor of the Kingdom of France while the East Frankish kingdom became the direct ancestor of the Kingdom of Germany. The Frankish Kingdoms were the last kingdoms of the Carolingians.
 
Last edited:
#7
So, how do you think. When did Paris become real capital of the state?
As other posters have pointed out, your statement right here is the real question.

Are you differentiating between "State" of France and Frankish territory because in your other thread you were talking about Austrasia meaning that your referring to a time before Francia became the state of France.

Also you need to take into account Salic Law .......... meaning each son of the early Franks had to be given a portion of the Kingdom and thus each son would have their own capital within Frankish territory, when all of Frankish territory only consisted of Francia (West Frankish lands / Gaul) then Francia would have had multiple capitals, this epitomised when the land after Charlemagne had expanded and they were able to give each son a whole territory of their own West Francia, East Francia and Middle Francia.

As I mentioned Paris has been a favoured City since Clovis and has been the go to capital ever since, fluctuations, territory shifts, territory ownership all come into play and there has been other capitals but Paris has been the West Franks capital more often than not and has been permanent to my knowledge since the creation of the French state.
 
Last edited:
Likes: Slavon

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,293
Europix
#8
Yes. Most lists do start with Clovis but Clovis was a Frank and King of the Frankish Kingdom which later begat the West Frankish Kingdom and East Frankish Kingdom. The West Frankish Kingdom is considered the direct ancestor of the Kingdom of France while the East Frankish kingdom became the direct ancestor of the Kingdom of Germany. The Frankish Kingdoms were the last kingdoms of the Carolingians.
It's a question of interpretation, of continuity.

Are we considering "France" simply an evolution of the Frankish kingdom or is France another state, another entity, born out from the the (late) Frankish kingdom?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,178
Las Vegas, NV USA
#9
It's a question of interpretation, of continuity.

Are we considering "France" simply an evolution of the Frankish kingdom or is France another state, another entity, born out from the the (late) Frankish kingdom?
I'm taking the view that there was a distinct division within the Frankish Kingdom between the Gallic west and Germanic east that actually goes back to Roman times before the Frankish Kingdom existed. The Franks themselves lived within the Empire as "federateii" charged with defending the border against other Germanic tribes. With the fall of Rome, The Frank, Clovis, established a kingdom with a primarily Gallic population based in Paris. The later West Frankish Kingdom was still under the Western Carolingian dynasty until the Capet dynasty succeeded it in 987. The post-Carolingian Gallic state is generally known as the Kingdom of France.
 
Last edited:

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
26,232
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#10
I'm taking the view that there was a distinct division within the Frankish Kingdom between the Gallic west and Germanic east that actually goes back to Roman times before the Frankish Kingdom existed. The Franks themselves lived within the Empire as "federateii" charged with defending the border against other Germanic tribes. With the fall of Rome, The Frank, Clovis, established a kingdom with a primarily Gallic population based in Paris. The later West Frankish Kingdom was still under the Western Carolingian dynasty until the Capet dynasty succeeded it in 987. The post-Carolingian Gallic state is generally known as the Kingdom of France.
Wait ... the Franks were Germanic, the Gauls were Celtic [like South Western Germans in that age, but this is a different matter]. If you consider "proto-France" a "post-Carolingian Gallic state" the connection with Franks becomes weak: they weren't Gallic, but Germanic. So [as sometime actually I hear] you are saying that the Franks weren't able to make old Gaul a Germanic state. Failing in this, I don't see why we should note a continuity with their Western Kingdom.