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Catherine de' Medici at the court of France

Sofia Doni

April 9, 2021

Catherine de Medici at the French court: our Queen's greatest innovations

13 April marks your anniversary. And we want to celebrate it, together with the most important innovations you have brought to French soil

A queen and a "atypical" woman will soon be the anniversary of Catherine de' Medici's birth (more precisely on April 13) and we want to celebrate her, remembering all she did during her life.

A portrait of Caterina de' Medici

She was the daughter of Lorenzo II de' Medici and very soon she took the place of her husband (Henry II), becoming queen of France. She was, without a doubt, an "atypical" woman for the canons of the time. In fact, her strong character and her many interests (such as astrology) went against the image of the submissive and ignorant woman.
In short, she was a very revolutionary woman who deserves to be remembered for all the innovations she introduced in the French court. In fact, during the years of her reign, Catherine not only moved for the serenity of her people but also brought the Florentine avant-garde into her kingdom, contributing significantly to its improvement.

The introduction of the fork in the French court was thanks to Queen Catherine

- Everyday Objects

It was Catherine herself who introduced the use of objects that today have become part of the everyday life of the place such as the fork and underpants. In fact, for her, grabbing meat with her fingers from the plate was absolutely unseemly. In addition, it also gives start to the love for fine underwear, "tablecloths", embroidery and fine handkerchiefs for the nose. This is because, the French queen came from Florence, a city considered as the most refined, elegant and intellectual of Europe.

French Queen Catherine

- Use of Perfume

Moreover, it is to her that is attributed the use of perfume. In fact, once married, she brought with her trusted perfumer (Renato Bianco), who found in the region of Grasse the best raw materials for his essences. All this because, as we well know, perfumes in Florence were regularly worn, being symbols of noble lineage.

Today's soupe à l'oignon is a typical French dish.

- The ancient Florentine origins of the French "cuisine

It is to her that is attributed the creation of the French "cuisine", introducing the important difference between salty and sweet foods and laying the foundations for the development of the French culinary art (now famous and admired all over the world).
In fact, many do not know that the famous soupe à l'oignon (symbol of French cooking) has as its ancestor the Cipollata, a traditional Tuscan dish that Catherine made known to her people.
Even the delicious Crepes, which we consider as typical French dishes, have their origin from Crespelle con besciamella... a very tasty Tuscan dish!
Continuing on, even Omelettes originate from the so-called Egg Fish, the ancestors of omelettes.
Let's now move on to desserts!
The cookie, today called Macaron, was born in Venice and was officially presented in France by Catherine's cook during her wedding lunch. Henry II loved these and it was the writer Rabelais who gave it this name.

Catherine de' Medici

What Catherine did in the French court was a real "Italianization" of customs, as the Florentine avant-garde, at that time, was unique in the world!
To learn more about some of the events in his life, click here!