Louis VII of France

Louis VII (1120 – 18 September 1180), called the Younger or the Young (French: le Jeune), was King of the Franks from 1137 to 1180. He was the son and successor of King Louis VI (hence the epithet “le Jeune”) and married Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe. The marriage temporarily extended the Capetian lands to the Pyrenees, but was annulled in 1152 after no male heir was produced.

Louis VII
Effigy of Louis VII on his seal
King of the Franks
Senior king1 August 1137 – 18 September 1180
Coronation25 December 1137, Bourges
Junior king25 October 1131 – 1 August 1137
Coronation25 October 1131, Reims Cathedral
PredecessorLouis VI
SuccessorPhilip II
Died18 September 1180 (aged 59–60)
Saint-Pont, Allier
(m. 1137; annulled 1152)

(m. 1154; died 1160)

(m. 1160)
FatherLouis VI of France
MotherAdélaide of Maurienne

Immediately after the annulment of her marriage, Eleanor married Henry Plantagenet, Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou, to whom she conveyed Aquitaine and produced five male heirs. When Henry became King of England in 1154, as Henry II, he ruled as king, duke or count over a large empire of kingdoms, duchies and counties that spanned from Scotland to the Pyrenees. Henry's efforts to preserve and expand on this patrimony for the Crown of England would mark the beginning of the long rivalry between France and England.

Louis VII's reign saw the founding of the University of Paris and the disastrous Second Crusade. Louis and his famous counselor, Abbot Suger, pushed for a greater centralization of the state and favoured the development of French Gothic architecture, notably the construction of Notre-Dame de Paris.

He died in 1180 and was succeeded by his son Philip II.