L'ancien Regime by Emma Williams

The l'ancien regime refers to French society from the 14th century to the 18th century. It translates to the 'old regime.' The l'ancien regime was separated into three groups. It was a lot like the feudal system, as it was a hierarchy of people. The first group was the clergy, who were people like priests and bishops who were involved with the Church. The second group was the nobility, and the third group contained everyone else.

The Clergy: Group 1

The first group of the l'ancien regime contained the clergy. The clergy made up approximately 0.5% of the French population, which was 100 000 people. The French Church was the Roman Catholic Church and it owned over 10% of the of the land. They were also entitled to the income and taxes that came from their property. As well as property revenues the Church also collected tithe, which is 10% of everyone's income. Even though the Church had such a huge income, they were not entitled to pay taxes. There was also a hierarchy within the clergy group. The bishops, archbishops and abbots received the majority of the income as they hold the most powerful positions of the clergy, and the monks, nuns and priests were under acknowledged and under payed.

The Nobility: Group 2

The second group of the l'ancien regime contained the nobility. The nobility made up approximately 1.5% of the French population, which was about 390 000 people. The French nobility had superior status, social prestige and special rights which often means that they were exempt from paying taxes and having duties. The most superior nobles were permitted to live in the Palace of Versailles. If a noble was charged with a civil crime they were usually excused and if it was a capital offense they even got to choose how they wanted to be killed.

Everyone Else: Group 3

The second group of the l'ancien regime contained everyone else, which were the people not characterized by being clergy or nobility. Everyone else made up approximately 98% of the French population, which was a about 27 million people. This group contained a huge variety of people, from rich landowners to poor peasants.


This image depicts the hierarchy of the l'ancien regime. It shows how Group 3 is holding the French nation up. The third group is the only group that fuels the economy and makes any money. It also depicts Group 1, the clergy showing little to the country and Group 2 fighting for the country but showing little support.