In the 17th and 18th centuries, France held an leading position and a sort of European leadership. This was due, in particular, to the court of Louis XIV, who became the model for states throughout Europe. Ludwig XIV., also known as the 'Sunking', is still famous today for his extravagant, splendid life and his love for the fine arts and the sciences. This resulted in a flowering of the French culture. He sat on the throne for 72 years, becoming one of the longest-ruling monarchs in history.
The arrival of democracy followed the famous French Revolution with the declaration of human and civil rights, which began in 1789.