The outset of his administration was marked by Franco-Italian fetes at Toulon (10th to I4th April 1901), when the Italian fleet returned a visit paid by the French Mediterranean squadron to Cagliari in April 1899; and by the despatch of three Italian warships to Prevesa to obtain satisfaction for damage done to Italian subjects by Turkish officials.
The creator of the present edifice was Francis I., under whom the architect Gilles le Breton erected most of the buildings of the Cour Ovale, including the Porte Doree, its southern entrance, and the Salle des Fetes, which, in the reign of Henry II., was decorated by the Italians, Francesco Primaticcio and Nicolo dell' Abbate, and is perhaps the finest Renaissance chamber in France.
He celebrated his triumphs to the full with gorgeous fetes in his palace, especially with lavish theatrical representations.
He was much employed, owing to Richelieu's influence, in the fetes of the dauphin's marriage, and was rewarded through the influence of Madame de Pompadour on New Year's Day 1745 by the appointment to the post of historiographer-royal, once jointly held by Racine and Boileau.
Some of the festivals of the Roman Church are celebrated with considerable pomp; and the people also cling to various national fetes, such as the Metzgersprung, the Schafflertanz, and the great October festival.
Courtrai celebrated the 600th anniversary of the battle mentioned above by erecting a monument on the field in 1902, and also by fetes and historical processions that continued for a fortnight.
Meanwhile the year 1842 was ushered in by splendid fetes in honour of the king of Prussia, who held the prince of Wales at the font.
The government appealed to the pope, but the Holy See declined to take any action, and so great was the embitterment that the Belgian minister at the Vatican and the papal nuncio at Brussels were recalled, and in 1880 the clergy refused to associate themselves with the fetes of the national jubilee.
Oran became the penal settlement of Spain, but neither the convicts nor the noblemen in disgrace who were also banished thither seem to have been under rigorous surveillance; contemporary accounts speak of constant fetes, games and bull-fights.
In his hatred of idleness, he ventured to suppress no less than seventeen fetes, and he had a project for lessening the number of those devoted to clerical and monastic life, by fixing the age for taking the vows some years later than was then customary.