Disappearance of Jean-Pierre Babelon

The death of Jean-Pierre Babelon, which occurred on Friday February 2, was announced by the Institut de France in an Instagram publication which pays tribute to the historian and celebrates his long career. A specialist in French history of the 16th and 17th centuries, he was a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and honorary curator of the Jacquemart-André Foundation.

The path taken by Jean-Pierre Babelon was clearly mapped out. Born in 1931 in Paris, he is the son of Jean Babelon and the grandson of Ernest Babelon, both eminent historians, librarians and numismatists. A student at the École nationale des chartes, he pursued a thesis entitled “Parisian residences under Henri IV and Louis XIII” with which he obtained his archivist-paleographer diploma in 1954. He then held the position of assistant archivist at the Archives departmental offices of Seine-et-Oise and that of project manager at the Château de Versailles, while simultaneously pursuing studies at the École du Louvre.

He spent the majority of his career at the National Archives (1957-1985), notably as chief curator of the ancient section. He simultaneously taught courses at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (1969-1985) and continued his research on France in the modern era, on the Wars of Religion and on Parisian architecture.

He then became director of the Château de Versailles, a position he held from 1989 to 1996. In 1992, he was elected a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and held the position of curator of the Jacquemart-André Foundation (2000 -2018), which includes the Boulevard Haussmann museum and Chaalis Abbey.

Jean-Pierre Babelon is the author of numerous works. Among other things, he published The courthouse, the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle (1966), Archives: memory of France (2008) and A shared passion for art, Nélie Jacquemart and Édouard André (2013).

He has been decorated numerous times. He was notably named Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit (1998), Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters and Commander of the National Order of the Legion of Honor (2005).

His funeral will be celebrated on Friday February 9 at 10:30 a.m. at the Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre Church in Paris (18th arrondissement).

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