The Court of France underwent an enormous transformation—in scale but also in significance—between 1500 and 1700. Between the reigns of Francis I and Louis XIV, the French court grew from its late medieval focus as the personal household of a warrior prince into an institution embodying the monarchy as a whole and the emerging concept of the nation-state. The court of the Valois and Bourbon kings adopted innovative elements of court culture from its neighbors, notably Italy and the Low Countries, and refashioned them into a style that was distinctly French, which was then exported to the rest of Europe as the leading model for a princely court by the end of the period. During this transformation, the court was greatly enlarged, but also more rigorously organized. Regulations were drawn up and codified in the later sixteenth century to ensure that order was kept and courtiers knew their place in the hierarchy, but also to increase the distance (both physical and conceptual) between courtiers and the king and members of his family. The monarch was now considered to be semi-divine, and his surroundings and the dignity of his servants needed to reflect this status. As the monarchy became increasingly centralized, or absolutist, it also became more paternal, although prominent women did wield considerable power as queen regents, from Catherine de’ Medici to Anne of Austria. Court offices (chamberlain, steward, master of the horse, lady-in-waiting, and so on) became grander and their duties standardized. Eventually, a grand palace, Versailles, was built to house the court and its courtiers all in one space. Possession of court offices became an engine for social mobility, chiefly for the nobility, but also for emerging non-noble elites, and a place of rivalry as well as collaboration between different types of nobles, referred to in France as “sword” and “robe” nobility. By the end of the period, certain noble families dominated nearly all the top household offices at the French court. Women in particular made use of the court to advance themselves and their families, whether through court office or through particular favor with the monarch as “official mistress.” The court embraced and patronized career paths in the royal household, but also in spheres of religion, the military and the arts. The court became a place where the king could set a standard for religious or military values (although these shifted from tolerance to intolerance during the seventeenth century) and establish a model for the visual representation of royal authority through the development of court buildings and palaces. In particular, the French monarchy strove to dazzle its subjects and neighbors through elaborate daily rituals and grand public ceremonies. By 1700, the French court had become the showpiece for monarchical displays of power and cultural preeminence which would dominate Europe for much of the following century.