Aimed firmly at the student reader, this handbook offers an overview of the full range of the history of France, from the origins of the concept of post-Roman "Francia," through the emergence of a consolidated French monarchy and the development of both nation-state and global empire into the modern era, forward to the current complexities of a modern republic integrated into the European Union and struggling with the global legacies of its past.

Short, incisive contributions by a wide range of expert scholars offer both a spine of chronological overviews and a diverse spectrum of up-to-date insights into areas of key interest to historians today. From the ravages of the Vikings to the role of gastronomy in the definition of French culture, from Caribbean slavery to the place of Algerians in present-day France, from the role of French queens in medieval diplomacy to the youth-culture explosion of the 1960s and the explosions of France’s nuclear weapons program, this handbook provides accessible summaries and selected further reading to explore any and all of these issues further, in the classroom and beyond.

chapter |5 pages


chapter 1|15 pages

Overview: From Regnum Francorum to Regnum Franciae

Early Medieval France from the Fifth to the Twelfth Centuries

chapter 3|11 pages

The Vikings and Francia, 799–936

chapter 5|11 pages

The World of the Early Capetian Court


chapter 6|10 pages

The Queens' Reflection

French Consorts as a Mirror of French History

chapter 8|11 pages

Nationhood and Nationalism in French History Writing

Franks, Gallo-Romans, and the Shaping of the Roman National

chapter 9|11 pages

Overview: Valois France, 1328–1498

chapter 12|10 pages

Performing Discontent

Politics and Society in the French Satirical Theater of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

chapter 13|11 pages

Overview: France in the Sixteenth Century

Monarchy, Renaissance, and Reformation, 1494–1610

chapter 14|11 pages

Conduit of the Divine

Theocratic Themes in Political Theory in Renaissance and Reformation France

chapter 16|9 pages

Festival Cultures in Early Modern France

Elite and Popular Celebrations, c. 1560–c. 1640

chapter 17|10 pages

Overview: Absolutist France to 1715

chapter 20|11 pages

The Royal Manufactories of Absolutist France

Luxury Production and the Politics and Culture of Mercantilism

chapter 22|11 pages

Overview: France, 1715 to 1815

A Century of Dubious Greatness

chapter 27|11 pages

Enlightenment and the Supernatural

Popular Religious Practice in the Eighteenth Century

chapter 28|11 pages

The “Masterpiece of the National Assembly”

Criminal Justice and the Revolution

chapter 29|10 pages

Performance in Paris, 1789–1815

Setting the Stage for Regime Change and Cultural Revision

chapter 30|13 pages

Fugitives from France

Huguenot Refugees, Revolutionary Émigrés, and the Origins of Modern Exile

chapter 33|13 pages

Overview: 1815–1905

An Era of Tumult and Change

chapter 34|12 pages

Memory of Lost Empire

chapter 39|11 pages

Socialism Up to the First World War

chapter 41|10 pages

Imperial Variation

Administration and Citizenship in France's Colonies

chapter 42|12 pages

Overview: Two Frances at War and Peace

The Stories of a Nation and its People, 1905–1958

chapter 43|12 pages

Overview: Between Gaullism and Globalization

Opening Up the Fifth Republic, 1958–2020 1

chapter 45|11 pages

French Feminisms

Patriarchy, Populationism, and Progress, 1870–1950

chapter 46|11 pages

Queering France Since the Belle Époque

Between Emancipation and Repression

chapter 50|10 pages

The Atomic Republic

Nuclear France Since 1958

chapter 52|9 pages

Sustaining the Nation

A Gastronomic Reading of Contemporary France

chapter 53|11 pages

The Year of the Events


chapter 56|10 pages

Erasing Race in France

Social Consequences of Political Idealism