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France - King Louis IX 'Saint Louis'

Celebrating the 800th Anniversary of his birth

Louis IX was born at Poissy near Paris on 25 April 1214. He reigned as King of France from 1226 until his death in 1270.

He is the only canonized king of France, leading to him being commonly referred to as 'Saint Louis'. Consequently, there are many places named in his honour, most notably St. Louis in Missouri, USA.

In 1234, Louis married Margaret of Provence (1221 – 1295), whose sister Eleanor later became the wife of Henry III of England.

Louis was a devout Catholic. The perception of him as the exemplary Christian prince was reinforced by his religious zeal.

He commissioned the Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) in Paris to host the crucifixion relics he acquired after 1239. Consecrated in 1248, the Sainte Chapelle is considered one of the crowning achievements of Gothic architecture.

Wishing to thank the trades which had contributed to the construction of the Sainte Chapelle, Louis ordered the establishment of several professional guilds, one of which was the "Oyeurs" or goose roasters from which of course the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs traces its origins.

Louis IX took very seriously his mission as "lieutenant of God on Earth", with which he had been invested when he was crowned in Reims Cathedral. To fulfill his duty, he conducted two crusades, and even though they were unsuccessful, they contributed to his prestige.

Statues of Saint Louis: from left to right - Tunis, Sacré Cœur (Paris), Poissy

It was on the second of these crusades that Louis died of dysentery at the crusaders' camp near Tunis on August 25, 1270.

From left to right: Portrait of King Louis IX ~ Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of France ~ Death of King Louis IX in Tunis