Peter the Great's visit to the French

Peter the Great's visit to the French capital took place as part of his big two-year "tour" of Western Europe. The tsar crossed the border of the French Kingdom on April 10, 1717. Arriving in the capital, Peter I refused to live in the Louvre, the royal palace, wishing to settle down with his entourage in a more modest place – the Lesdiguières Hotel.

The three most significant meetings of the Russian sovereign in France were the acquaintance with Louis XV, his nephew (Regent Philip II of Orleans) and the official favorite of Louis XIV, the Marquise de Maintenon.

Peter I's curiosity and thirst for knowledge remained unchanged in France: even on the way to the capital, he managed to get acquainted with the city fortifications of Dunkirk, the forts of Calais and the Abbeville cloth factory. In Paris, Peter visited the Apothecary's House, the royal library, the Botanical Garden, the French Academy of Sciences and the Paris Observatory. The sovereign visited the Paris Mint, the workshops of carpenters and foundry workers, and the famous Les Invalides. At the same time, according to eyewitnesses, Peter I took notes everywhere, communicated with ordinary carpenters, academics and doctors. As a result, he brought with him from France objects of art, books and technology – just as he did during the Great Embassy.

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Sources: Visit from Peter the Great, 1717