When visiting the Louvre once with a guide, she mentioned that the young Louis XIV, on the night of 5 January 1649, actually escaped from Palais-Royal and not from the Louvre as it is usually mentioned when talking about the Fronde.

How accurate is this statement?

I did some casual searches and it seems that most of sources mention "Paris", a few "the royal palace" (but not "Palais-Royal" which, translated word for word means "Palace-Royal" and is actually the name of a building), some others "Palais-Royal", and then some more the Louvre (surprisingly not that many sources, at least in the ones I found) which was the official place of stay for the royal family at the time.

Dans le Palais-Royal endormi, le maréchal de Villeroy gouverneur de Louis XIV, réveille le jeune roi et son frère cadet

In the sleepy Palais-Royal, Marshal Villeroy, governor of Louis XIV, awakens the young king and his younger brother

Louis XIV : Le traumatisme de la Fronde (https://www.geo.fr/voyage/louis-xiv-le-traumatisme-de-la-fronde-127599) [fr]

Les troubles de la Fronde marquent le petit roi qui, en 1649, doit fuir le palais en pleine nuit (...)

The Fronde troubles marked the little king who, in 1649, had to flee the palace in the middle of the night (...)

Wikipedia entry for Palais-Royal (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palais-Royal) [fr]

  • 4
    What sources mention the Louvre? Wikipedia has a coherent story and cites a source, any reason to doubt it? La régente Anne d’Autriche s’y installe de 1643 à 1652, quittant les appartements incommodes du Louvre, pour profiter du jardin où peuvent jouer le jeune Louis XIV et son frère. Le Palais-Cardinal devient le Palais-Royal.
    – Relaxed
    May 21, 2020 at 8:32
  • @Relaxed: the first source is History As It Is Taught In France For Generations :) I am French and the escape was always from "the Louvre, the royal family home until Versailles, and afterwards". This article from l'Express (lexpress.fr/informations/le-grand-dessein-des-rois_592281.html) mentions the Louvre as the place Louis XIV fled from, or this blog which reflects the traditional vue above (louisxiv.over-blog.com/article-29694127.html) - I am not saying that these are historical sources, but they rather show what is taught to French children for years.
    – WoJ
    May 21, 2020 at 8:53
  • I am French too and I don't think it's worth much...
    – Relaxed
    May 21, 2020 at 8:54
  • @Relaxed: and you learned that Louis XIV fled from Palais-Royal? I asked around me and for everyone it was the Louvre (I believe that it either was taught that way (like to my son who just had this at school), or people are making the Paris → royal family → Louvre association)
    – WoJ
    May 21, 2020 at 9:03
  • No, I did not. I meant that school history is typically superficial and simplistic, especially when it comes to such symbolic events. I just don't give it much weight when I remember it at all. But I see where you are coming from now.
    – Relaxed
    May 21, 2020 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


Olivier Bernier's biography 'Louis XIV' says, based on Mme de Motteville's account (II, 286):

"Having seen the Queen in her bed, we went off home ... As soon as we had left, the gates of the Palais Royal were closed with the command to not open them again. The Queen got up again to think about her situation and confided her secret only to her First Woman of the Bedchamber who slept near her ..."

"The necessary orders were then given to the captains of the guard ... The maréchal de Villeroy allowed the King to sleep until three in the morning; then he roused him, along with [Monsieur -- in reality, the duc d'Anjou but simplified in Bernier's account], and brought them to a carriage which was waiting for them at the garden gate of the Palais Royal. The Queen joined the King and the Monsieur."

From there, it was a very short ride to the Cours la Reine, safely outside the walls of Paris.

Previous movements of the court are not as precisely described. Bernier notes that the king had left Paris for Richelieu's palace on September 12th, and then returned to "Paris" two days after October 22nd.

The only option for confusion could be if the King was brought to the gate of the Palais Royal from the Louvre though nothing in the above text suggests that; I'd recommend Mme de Motteville's personal account for that (no doubt easier accessed in French -- I didn't find an accessible translation at present).

  • 1
    So that scene in the Three Musketeers' sequel seems to be historically accurate...
    – vsz
    May 21, 2020 at 18:36
  • @WoJ: Did this answer the question satisfactorily?
    – gktscrk
    Jun 11, 2020 at 19:25

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