Even among the colorful panoply of great medieval rulers, very few can match the legacy and regal charisma of Louis IX (1226–70). Admired and imitated by his contemporaries and successors in France and the courts of Europe, Louis seemed to epitomize the quintessential but often unattainable qualities of a Christian monarch in the High Middle Ages: he was a courtly and just ruler who consolidated his kingdom, a chivalric crusader, a devout and sophisticated patron, and, ultimately, a saint. The irresistible glamour of Louis IX’s reign not only attached itself to the king but also permeated the entire court and especially its seat, the city of Paris and the Île-de-France. The dazzling quality of...

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