The north of France. A land of heterogenous cultural roots, with Teutonic influence in the east, Frankish influences in the central and east-central regions, Viking influences in the north and west-central, and strongly Celtic spheres in the west. The Langued'oïl (the term refers to the early French version of the word for "yes" - "oiel", now spelled and pronounced "oui") has been at one and the same time a forested backdrop in front of which the Mediterranean cultures played out their roles, but also the region from which centralization and power emanated.

Contains: Alençon, Alsace, Amboise, Amiens, Anjou, Arras, Artois, Aumale, Auxerre, Bar-le-Duc, Bar-sur-Seine, Bellême, Berry, Blois, Boulogne, Bourbon, Breton March, Brie, Brittany, Bro Erech, Burgundy (all phases), Calais, Champagne, Chartres, Chatillon-sur-Marne, Clermont (en Beauvais), Condé, Conti, Cornouaille (Ys), Domnoneé, Dreux, Etampes, Evreux, Franche Comte, Guines, Guise, Harcourt, Joinville, Leon, Lorraine, Lower Burgundy, Maine, Mont St. Michel, Mortain, Nantes, Nemours, Nevers, Normandy, Orleans, Paris, Perche, Picardy, Ponthieu, Reims, Rennes, Rohan, St. Pol, Sancerre, Soissons, Thouars, Touraine, Tours, Upper Burgundy, Valois, Vaudémont, Vendome, Vermandois, Vexin, and Yvetot.


A town in southern Normandy, about 30 miles (50 km.) north of Le Mans and about 60 miles (95 km.) west of Chartres. The site of an old Norman lordship, it became attached to the royal family at an early date, and was long an appanage County and then Duchy within various branches of the House of France.

 (Fr. Alsace; Alsatian Elsàss; Ger. Elsaß; Latin Alsatia) is a comparatively small region located on France's eastern border, alongside the west bank of the middle Rhine from a bit past Strasbourg in the north, to Basel and the Swiss frontier in the south, with the Vosges Mountains forming it's western frontier. It has been a border region and an area of contention for a very long time.

AMBOISE A town on the Loire, about 15 miles (25 km.) east of Tours. First mentioned in the 6th century, it became a Royal demesne in the later 15th century. Its very extensive Chateau was a favorite residence of Charles VIII and Francis I, and was the place that Leonardo da Vinci died while in the employ of the latter monarch.

ANJOU The Counts of Anjou were noted for their ferocity and avariciousness, and thus have had a much larger impact on the development of France and Europe in general than the size of this quite small region southwest of Normandy would imply.

ARTOIS A district in northern France, just inland from the coast between Calais and Abbeville, with it's capital at Arras. A Mediaeval county, it was normally associated with Flanders.

AUMALE A small town in northern France, at the conjunction of the départements of Seine-Maritime, Somme, and Oise; it is 26 miles (42 km.) southwest of Amiens, and 36 miles (58 km.) northeast of Rouen.

AUXERRE A city in north-central France, some 95 miles (153 km.) southeast of Paris and 77 miles (124 km.) east of Orléans. It was generally on the frontier between France proper and Burgundy during the Middle Ages.

BAR (-le-Duc) A district in eastern France, on the frontier between Lorraine and Champagne. During most of the Middle Ages it was a border region between France and the Empire (Germany) and, as such, the loyalties of it's various lords have wavered - at times within French spheres of influence and at other times within German.

BAR-sur-SEINE A county in northeastern France, about 18 miles (30 km.) southeast of Troyes. Not to be confused with the Duchy of Bar in Lorraine.

BERRY A region in central France, corresponding closely to the modern départements of Indre and Cher, roughly 125 miles (200 km.) south of Paris. Orléannais is to the northwest, Aquitaine to the southwest, and Bourbonnais to the east and southeast.

BLOIS A county in north-central France, south of Paris. Within its domain was Chartres, site of perhaps the finest Gothic cathedral ever built.

BOULOGNE A town in far northern France, at the eastern end of the English Channel. Always a naval base, it was built by the Romans and called at first Gesoriacum and later Bononia. Destroyed in Viking raids late in the 9th century, it had been reestablished by 912. This was the harbour from which Napoleon intended to invade Great Britain (1808), and it also served as a submarine base and potential embarkation point against Great Britain for Germany during World War II.

BOURBON The region around the town of Bourbon le'Archimbauld in France, centered around the city of Moulins and Vichy. The House of Bourbon originated as a local seigneurial family whose properties were inherited by the Dampierre dynasty, and then came into the hands of Clermont, a cadet branch of the Royal Family.

BRIE A region in northern France between the Seine and Marne watersheds, adjacent to the western edge of Champagne, and roughly 40 miles (65 km.) east of Paris. It is best-known world-wide as the place of origin for the soft white cheese that bears the name of the district.

BRITTANY The ancient region of Armorica saw a huge influx of British refugees in the 6th century as a result of the Anglo-Saxon invasions, and this created the basis behind Breton culture. This isolated peninsula in the far north-west of France developed it's own traditions and language early, and its rulers, though often vassals to the French Kingdom, were just as often calling themselves Kings. Originally, the region was divided into separate districts; Bro Erech, Cornouaille, and Domnonée - these eventually merged by the end of the 6th century to form Brittany. See also Rennes.

BRO ERECH A Breton kingdom located in eastern Brittany, near the historic border with the Franks. Probably a remnant of the older kingdom of Vannetais.

BURGUNDY Burgundy has a complex history, and the name has manifested itself in European history through a number of different states and provinces. The original Burgundians were a small Teutonic tribe occupying part of eastern Gaul in the 5th century. They were swiftly absorbed by their more aggressive and numerous Frankish neighbors, but the name of their Kingdom survived as a Merovingian state with a sporadic autonomy. In late Carolingian times, two separate Kingdoms, each of short duration, were spawned in southeastern France. Later, the French royal family generated a line of dukes, and when that became extinct, the title was revived a second time. This second creation succeeded in gaining for itself all of the Low Countries, an inheritance which was passed on to the Habsburgs in the 15th century. Additionally, there was a County of Burgundy within the Empire, based at Besancon. See also, Mayors of the Palace.

CALAIS Port city in northern France, across the English Channel from Dover. It was the last English possession on French soil, remaining in English hands until 1558. Here is a fragmentary list of Mediaeval governors.

CHAMPAGNE In eastern France, another famous wine-producing region; politically, the Champagnois have been highly influential in regional and international affairs.

CHARTRES A town in northern France, a County and Royal demesne from the Middle Ages. It is the site of what many regard as the most beautiful and most perfect example of Mediaeval Cathedrals in existence.

CHATILLON-Sur-MARNE A rural region in France, adjacent to Champagne. Chatillon was ruled by a series of seigneurs. Among the region more famous sons was Odo de Lagery, better known as Pope Urban II.

CLERMONT (-en-Beauvasis) A town in northern France within the Département of Oise, about 35 miles (56 km.) north of Paris. It comprised a Countship in the Middle Ages.

CONDÉ A town on the southern border of Normandy, the titular base for a series of very influential Princes of France in early modern times.

CONTI The titular base for a series of very influential lords, closely related to the Condés.

CORNOUAILLE (Caer Ys) Positioned in southwest Armorica, and isolated from major events by a long shoreline and the great Brocéliande forest to the southeast, which was never cleared, almost all of Cornouaille's history is legendary. Its original capital was Caer Ys (now the Bay of Douarnenez, but Gradlon Mur relocated it to Corspotium (Quimper). Because of Cornouaille's isolation behind the Brocéliande, the identities of the princes of the 6th century are highly confused, and some may have ruled in a different order from that shown below, at least up until Budic. Despite Cornouaille's seclusion, in the 5th and 11th centuries it actually supplied the rulers of Brittany. For another "lost city" in this general region, of Romano-British tradition, see Lyonesse.

DOMNONÉE A region in northern Brittany populated largely by settlers and exiles from Dumnonia, in southwestern Britain. It formed one of three early regalities in the area before being absorbed into Brittany as a whole.

DREUX A town in northern France, 20 miles (32 km.) north-northwest of Chartres, and about 45 miles (72 km.) west of Paris. In early times the center of the Durocasses tribe, and a lesser county in Mediaeval times. The place is perhaps best-known as the site of the defeat of Huguenot forces in 1562 by Francois, Duc d'Guise, which sparked the Wars of Religion.

ETAMPES A town in northern France, about 30 miles (48 km.) south of Paris, about 25 miles (40 km.) west of Fontainebleau, and about 32 miles (50 km.) east of Chartres. A County in 1327, it was made a Dukedom in 1536. The residence was in the demesne of the Royal family from an early date, and normally was utilized as an appanage peerage for a variety of close relatives, clients, or mistresses.

EVREUX A town, the seat of a bishopric, in southeastern Normandy about 55 miles (90 km.) west of Paris and about 25 miles (40 km.) northwest of Dreux. Located in a strategically significant valley, it has endured severe damage and sack at least seven times since the end of Roman rule.

GATINAIS A district in northern France, comprising the valley of the River Loing between the Seine to the north and the Loire to the south - it includes the royal demesne of Fontainebleau, and the town of Nemours. In the early Middle Ages the chief city was usually Chateau-Landon, some 50 miles (80 km.) south-southeast of Paris.

GUINES A small town in far northern France, 6 miles (10 km.) south of the port of Calais.

GUISE A town in northern France, within Picardy, about 25 miles (40 km.) morth of Laon. The district is well-known for its association with the Guise branch of the Ducal house of Lorraine - Dukes of Guise were, in the 16th century, among the most influential men in France and were the primary foes of the Huguenot movement in France.

HARCOURT A Norman village and seigneurie (later a countship) in the Département of  Eure, 20 miles (32 km.) southwest of Rouen and 18 miles (29 km.) northwest of Evreux.

JOINVILLE A town in eastern France, a local lordship in the Middle Ages and an influential Royal Princedom in early modern times.

LEON An ephemeral statelet located in the far west of Armorica / Brittany. Leon was an exceptionally short-lived principality, and lasted no more than two generations in the 6th century before being absorbed by the Breton kings.

LORRAINE The central Carolingian Kingdom in the division of 843, Lorraine (Lotharingia) quickly became a contested region between its French and German neighbors. For most of its history it has been within the Holy Roman Empire, but French influence is considerable, and in fact one of France's greatest heroines, Jeanne D'arc, came from here.

MAINE A County in northern France - south of Normandy, north of Anjou, and east of Brittany. The chief city is Le Mans. Annexed by the French Crown at the beginning of the 13th century, it was retained as an appanage County and then Dukedom thereafter.

A rocky tidal island and a commune in Normandy, France. It is located approximately one kilometre (just over half a mile) off the country's north coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches. The population of the island is 41, as of 2006. The island has been a strategic point holding fortifications since ancient times, and since the 8th century AD it became the seat of the Saint-Michel monastery, from which it draws the name.

MORTAIN A town in southwestern Normandy, about 26 miles (42 km.) east of the island monastery of Mont St. Michel and about 45 miles (72 km.) southwest of Caen. It comprised a county during the Middle Ages, one which was often involved with Norman/English rulers.

NANTES capital of Loire-Atlantique dept. in western France, on the Loire River. It is an important industrial and shipping center with its ocean port at Saint-Nazaire. In late antiquity it was the chief town of the Gallic tribe of the Namnetes. Nantes became an important trade and administrative center under the Romans. It was made an episcopal see in the 4th cent. Nantes was ravaged and held (843-936) by Norsemen and later (10th cent.) fell to the dukes of Brittany, who resided there until Brittany became part of France in 1524. Nantes was the site Henry IV's Edict of Toleration; and of some of the most horrific atrocities of the French Revolution, including the mass drowning of Royalist officers.

NEMOURS A town in northern France, 44 miles (71 km.) south-southeast of Paris, and 10 miles (16 km.) south of Fontainebleau.

NEVERS A provincial capital in central France, about 90 miles (145 km.) southeast of Orléans. Originally a Roman town (Noviodumum Aeduorum), it has been a base of power for a number of noble families since the Middle Ages.

NORMANDY Northern France, along the coast of the English Channel. The Norman people, Norwegians settling in the region and intermarrying with the local Gallic population, have exerted a tremendous impact on European and world history. This proud, rapacious, turbulent folk not only conquered northern France, but established Kingdoms from England to Naples.

ORLÉANS A city on the Loire, in north-central France. The site of the Roman market town of Aurelianum, it has long associated with the royal family. It was the largest and most important city in France after Paris during the early Middle Ages, and is perhaps best known for the seven-month seige it endured in 1429 which was lifted by the French national heroine, Jeanne d'Arc.

PARIS A Frankish County in Carolingian times, this became the core of the Ile-de-France and thus the central focus of power from which the early Capetians gradually asserted authority over all of Gaul, a process which wasn't fully complete until the end of the Wars of Religion in the 17th century.

PERCHE A hilly district in northern France, located between Maine to the southwest and Normandy to the north - the eastern half of Orne Département, about 30 miles (48 km.) west of Chartres and roughly 70 miles (112 km.) west of Paris. The area is best known as the original breeding ground for Percheron draft horses.

PICARDY A region in northern France, comprising the modern Départements of Somme, northern Aisne, and the western coastal districts of Pas-de-Calais. Throughout most of the Middle Ages it was a frontier zone, first between English and French forces, later between French and Flemish territory, and eventually between French and Imperial forces. It's old capital of Amiens is noted for its splendid cathedral, and is the birthplace of the author Jules Verne.

PONTHIEU (and Montreuil) The County of Ponthieu was a province of Normandy centered on the mouth of the Somme, and its counts played an important role in the early history of Normandy. It eventually formed part of the dowry of Eleanor of Castile and passed to the English crown. Much fought-over in the Hundred Years' War, it eventually passed to the French crown, and the title Count of Ponthieu became a courtesy title for the royal family.

REIMS A city in northern France, within the Duchy of Champagne, about 80 miles (128 km.) east-northeast of Paris. An ecclesiastic see from Roman times, the Archbishops of Reims were thre Primates of France and of enormous political significance in the development of the nation. They consecrated successive Kings of France at their coronations, a rite performed by the Archbishops (with a few exceptions) from 1223 to 1825. In the Middle Ages the Archbishops were semi-independent Peers of France, coining their own money and controlling extensive properties in Champagne.

Note that my sources for the first 50 Archbishops are fragmentary - I will continue adding to this list as I develop better information.

RENNES (Gaulic: Resnn, Breton: Roazhon, Latin: Condate, Condate Riedonum) is a city in the east of Brittany in northwestern France. Rennes is the capital of the Bretagne region, as well as the Ille-et-Vilaine department.

ROHAN Much more a family than a locality, the town of Rohan is a small village in central Brittany. The family which became lords and Viscounts de Rohan expanded their influence throughout the Middle Ages until by the 15th century they were in possession of numerous Breton districts and titles. They reached their apogee in the 16th and 17th centuries, producing individuals of national importance. Although the senior titles, which this list follows, passed to other lineages, cadet branches of the clan recieved many other honors, and some of those branches still exist.

ST. POL (Ternoise) A district in the hill country of central Artois, in northern France about 20 miles (32 km.) west of Arras. It has long been a local countship of significant influence.

SANCERRE A town in central France, 62 miles (100 km.) southeast of Orléans. Originally a little lordship called Chateaugordon, a fief of the archbishopric of Bourges. It was inherited by Odo II, count of Blois-Champagne. Noted for its superb white wine. It was a Huguenot stronghold during the Wars of Religion in the 16th century.

SOISSONS An ancient town in northern France, about 56 miles (90 km.) northeast of Paris, on the main Paris-Brussels road. Capital of the Dark Ages Merovingian Kingdom of Neustria, it was here that the last Meroving King, Childeric III, was deposed and replaced by his Carolingian Mayor of the Palace, Pepin the Short.

THOUARS a small town in western France, roughly 20 miles (35 km.) south of the Loire and situated on the frontier between Anjou to to the northwest and Vienne to the southeast.

TOURS In north-central France, east of Anjou, the city of Tours is about 33 miles (53 km.) southwest of Blois. The capital of a Gaulic tribe, the Turonii, before Roman occupation. It was near here, somewhere in the direction of Poitiers, that Charles Martel defeated a Spanish Muslim expedition intent on conquering Gaul for the Caliph, in 742. It was briefly (June 13-15, 1940) the seat of the French government following the fall of Paris at the beginning of World War II.

VALOIS A district in northern France, roughly the region between Paris to the south and Soissons to the northeast. Associated dynastically with the Vexin (the zone between Ile-de-France and Normandy) from an early date, the region passed to Vermandois and thence to France. It was utilized as an appanage Duchy for the Royal House from the end of the 13th century, a branch which (with it's own cadets) held the throne 1328-1589.

VAUDÉMONT A small village in southern Lorraine, about 20 miles (32 km.) south of Nancy, and roughly 18 miles (29 km.) east of the birthplace of Jeanne d'Arc, Domremy. Assigned as an appanage County to a cadet branch of the Dukes of Lorraine, it's importance lies in the fact that that branch eventually inherited the whole of Lorraine and thereby, centuries later, gained the heritage of the Holy Roman Empire by a fortuitous marriage - the present Habsburgs are all descendants of this line.

VENDOME A town and district in northern France, about 40 miles (65 km.) west of Orleans, and about half that distance northwest of Blois. A County from 970, it was eventually inherited by a junior branch of a cadet line of the Royal family which, nevertheless, inherited the throne in 1589, Vendome having been raised to a dukedom in 1515.

VERMANDOISA small county just east of Normandy and south of Flanders. The Counts of Vermandois are notable as being the last of the Carolingian dynasty; they were descended from Bernard of Italy (d. 818), son of Pepin (d. 810), son of Charlemagne.

VEXIN A district in northern France, northwest of Paris and lying athwart the frontier between Normandy and Île de France.

YVETOT A town in north-central Normandy, about 7 miles (11 km.) north of the Seine, to the southeast of the Pays de Caux and about 19 miles (30 km.) northwest of Rouen. There has been an autonomous lordship here since at least the 11th century, and local legend has it as established directly by Viking invaders. From the end of the 14th century, Yvetot lords were styling themselves as Kings, based on interpretations of autonomy in the original grants of nobility - given the troubled times of the late Hundred Years War, the French Kings were in little position to argue. However, in the more settled times of the mid 16th century, the rulers of Yvetot began using "Prince" instead of "King". In recent times, the old lordship has become a focus for those interested in local autonomy and Norman (as opposed to French) culture.