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Henri IV - An unfinished reign


Henri IV was driven by a constant concern for his legacy, and architecture was one of his primary means of expression. For immortalising one's renown, what more impressive and prestigious means was there than the construction of buildings? In addition, Henri had a real predilection for architecture and the art of building. Here his ancestry – both the Albrets and the Valois were princely builders – came to the fore. Henri launched building sites, visited them, and personally thanked the architects, masons and carpenters. Certain individuals "accused [him] of being too fond of buildings and costly works […]", as he wrote to Sully in 1607. Henri paid them little heed and conversed with anyone who would listen about "his buildings", as he liked to call them. His Parisian development projects had given him the chance to become involved in architecture. Even though no new château was built under his reign, his transformations and improvements of the various royal residences allowed him to give free rein to his architectural tastes.
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