chapter  10
16 Pages

Religion royale in the sacred landscape of Paris

The Jesuit Church of Saint Louis and the resacralization of kingship in early Bourbon France (1590–1650)
ByEric Nelson

Religion royale reinforced royal claims to divinely sanctioned political authority and to the arcana imperii of monarchy – that is the more mystical elements of royal authority that underpinned a king's judgement when, for instance, offering clemency. The performative nature of religion royale naturally linked it to specific places in the landscape like Notre Dame and the basilica of Saint Denis, both of which were important sites in medieval royal funeral rituals. Religion royale evolved through time, often reflecting changes in ideas about royal legitimacy and authority or religious and cultural sensibilities. In the process, the use of sites in the landscape evolved and at times new sites for the performance of religion royale took shape. For all of Henri and Louis's interactions with the earlier chapel, it was the church's complete rebuilding in the 1620s that transformed it into a purpose-built shrine celebrating the Bourbon dynastic line and a locus for the ceremonial life of the religion royale.