Since the history of Paris spans more than two and a half centuries, the history books often divide the events that transpired into several periods. For example, there are the historical occurrences which signified the period of ancient Paris, early Medieval and Medieval Paris, early modern Paris, the Belle Epoque period and the Paris Renaissance.
To have a deeper understanding about what this part of its history is all about, here is a quick overview of what the Renaissance period is all about. The word renaissance is the French term for rebirth.
The word perfectly describes what happened to the European region in general and to Paris in particular, during the 14th through the 16th centuries. Here’s a look at the major changes which occurred in Europe during these times:
– It was during this era that Europe was released from the economic woes associated with the Middle Ages.
– It was during the Renaissance period that thoughts related to politics, the arts and science turned in an entirely new direction.
– It was during this period that the bubonic plague occurred, devastating half of Europe’s population.
– The period also signified the beginning of trade, the printing press was invented and books and publications flourished.
All in all the Renaissance period in Europe signified the rebirth of Paris as well. It was during these times that physical changes within the city and intellectual changes within Parisians were developed – giving way to a more civilized manner of living. It is also when some of the most beautiful architectural structures were built.
Paris Renaissance began with King Francis I, who developed the Louvre from being a plain castle fort to a magnificent palace.
When you visit the Louvre, you will see the wings which the king added, as well as plenty of examples of paintings and national treasures from the Renaissance period.
Similarly, the lush interior of St. Etienne du Mont which is dedicated to the city’s patron saint Genevieve is another reminder of the most important events which occurred during the Renaissance period.
In 1594, King Henry IV had the Royal Palace built. It is now known as the Place des Vosges in the Marais district.
True enough, all you have to do is have a tour of the Louvre or the Marais district in the city and you can easily travel back through time – and revisit the Paris Renaissance period when the rebirth of the “City of Lights” occurred.