The Beauxbatons Academy of Magic is a luxurious castle found around the countryside of France within the Pyrenees mountain range. This particular school has a significant reputation like its sister schools, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the Durmstrang Institute. The reputation is that of elegance in that students, staff and alumni see beauty within themselves and of the world.
This strive towards personal enlightenment began around the time that Beauxbatons was founded in the year 1290 within a social, political and economic “Dark Age.” This age, as told through muggle and wizarding world history, was an era of a lack of literacy and other means of education along with a lack of records. How historians today know of the origins of schools founded around this time (more specifically Durmstrang and Beauxbatons) was due to the fact that these schools pushed for literacy and development of proper recording mechanics. However, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic was a more progressive school in comparison to the Durmstrang Institute, due to their openness to all students with magical capabilities and relative lack of secrecy.
The story of Beauxbatons Academy begins, of course, with its founder Amelie Lesage. Now Madam Lesage was considered far ahead of her time, and believed that education should be available to all regardless of status. Aside from this principle of life, she was overtly persistent in trying to make her ideas a reality for all. This determination was faced with a dual reaction from the wizarding world, with one extreme being moderate support and the other being public humiliation and denunciation. Thankfully for Amelie, the moderate support was enough for her to get enough help constructing a large building that would act as her classrooms for varying ages.
As she found her students, traveling throughout French and Spanish villages around the border defined by the Pyrenees, she realized she would need a bit more room than she had originally set forth. Year after year, Amelie was forced to expand by either creating more dormitories or more classrooms. Along with the mass influx of students, there were many wizards that had grown up being educated at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that wished to teach at Beauxbatons to spread their knowledge to the generations to follow- this became known to be the European Professor Boom of the 1300’s. Further with this sudden aid to Amelie, it created this strong bond between the two schools and even further with Durmstrang Institute in the more northeastern parts of Europe. Together, the three decided to host the first Triwizard Tournament as a form of competitive, but friendly match between the three schools to assert their magical prowess.
Nevertheless, with allies aside from the matter at hand, Amelie Lesage was leading a rather large school that set forth various curriculum to ensure that the young witches and wizards had enough knowledge to sustain themselves and to see the beauty in magic. The aspect of beauty, of course, deriving from the rather artistic ambiance that surrounded Amelie Lesage. As mentioned previously, she was a woman far beyond her time, and was a woman of the arts, more specifically in drawings and poetic lyrics. This boom of art and creativity, however, would not truly begin until after the founding of Beauxbatons- it is more famously known in the muggle world as the Renaissance.
This rather non-magical time in history had reached the doors of this school as well, as Madam Lesage even promoted her own Magical Arts class, the first of its kind at the time. Obviously, this set the precedent for many years to follow, becoming more apparent in the formulation of Beauxbatons House Melusine, which is said to be created by the Founder herself. However, as she came to realize, the Headmistress realized she couldn’t be the leader of a House and remain unbiased to other students, and decided to pass the torch to Astronomy Professor Cecile Beaulieu (who would later be given credit for founding this House). As for the other Houses, Abraxan and Reynard, they were created and head by two prominent professors at Beauxbatons, Etienne Desnuages (Charms) and Vincent Sournois (Transfiguration). Abraxan, founded by Desnuages, was a house for the determined and the willful, who would stop at nothing to achieve their goals. This was essentially a projection of who Etienne was, a steadfast intellectual that wanted nothing but to initiate a change in the (as he said) “dull world.” Meanwhile Reynard, founded by Sournois, was for the cunning and creative and was incidentally an exact opposite to the personality of the man. Vincent was a rather impulsive man himself, but Madam Lesage had given Vincent the task of creating at least one more House and to make it creative. Thus, he took the creative aspect of it too literally, and made this house to be focused amongst the innovative.
After the development of the Beauxbatons Houses, and many subsequent years to follow with vast growth of the school, Madam Lesage grew old. Although, the old woman was not afraid of what lay on the other side, nor was she fearful for what the future held. She knew that her school was going to be in good hands, unlike the mentality of various magical school founders. Madam Lesage always claimed to have something that the others at the sister schools didn’t: faith in other people. She didn’t explicitly say this until she was upon her deathbed, surrounded by those closest to her, including her three prospective Headmasters. The three prospects, clearly, were the Founders of the Houses (with the exception of Cecile Beaulieu, as her status as “founder” is continuously debated). At the note that Amelie Lesage claimed to have faith in other people, it hit the three in that she never did nor would decide who would be her successor and that they would have to figure it out themselves. They knew, however, that they were out of time and wouldn’t be able to tell their mentor who would follow in her footsteps.
The death of Amelie Lesage was felt not only at the Beauxbatons Academy, but at other schools internationally as many visited for the grand celebration of life. Each person in attendance knew it was what she would have wanted most, a grand commencement of people from different places all for one common purpose, and all at peace.
Peace, unfortunately, was not necessarily the word used to describe the events following the late Headmistress’s death. Cecile Beaulieu, Etienne Desnuages and Vincent Sournois hadn’t decided who was to take on the responsibility as Headmaster, and they were at a constant dissonance between each other as a result of it. Turmoil, they knew, was the last thing that Madam Lesage would have wanted to become of her position. This point was used rather effectively by the successor and pacifier of such dissonance and subsequent Headmaster of Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, Vincent Sournois.
Although the other two were obviously envious that their old colleague had surpassed them, in the end they decided to put their differences aside and help him in times of need. Sournois may have been a rather cunning man, but he had difficulty managing and maintaining things such as the school-wide curriculum and relationships with the other professors. Beaulieu and Desnuages, however, were experienced in both social and academic prowess, and effectively helped Sournois become more popular than he ever was as Headmaster. Yet, it felt to Vincent and to the staff of Beauxbatons that truly there were always three Headmasters from the moment Amelie Lesage had left.
This precedent for other staff members helping the current Headmaster would continue for years and even beyond into the subsequent centuries. A notable instance of this was by the time Nicholas Flamel, renowned alumnus of Beauxbatons, had become Headmaster himself. Flamel was certain in how to run a school in terms of management of the curriculum and establishing relationships within the community and beyond the region of France. However, he faced particular difficulties in diplomacy at times, as he never wished to leave Beauxbatons for summits (such as Amelie Lesage did). Therefore, he asked his wife Perenelle to essentially become the first Beauxbatons Ambassador, a role that would later become hidden but can still be filled. Together, the two ensured that Beauxbatons was at its highest display of prowess, through academic prosperity and diplomatic peace.
Unfortunately, this ideology began to fall apart, and the Headmaster role began to isolate itself by the 19th century. An example of this occurrence was with a Headmaster by the name of Marceau Moniare. Despite the rather free nature as set forth through the predecessors and foundation that the school was built upon, Monaire began to question nearly every policy set forth by the school over the years. This questioning ultimately ceased when he ended up putting forth new or revised policies and rules that enforced more strict security and secrecy from the muggle world. These policies mocked that of and were inspired by Rappaport’s Law that had been passed by Magical President Emily Rappaport in the United States of America. This came to Beauxbatons as a shock, and Monaire was faced with obvious displeasure from students, alumni and parents alike. These actions became so notable that the students of the Reynard House had deemed him Monaire the Unfair. Granted, the students were particularly upset that he interfered with their Magical Arts classes and refused to allow them to take their annual nature trip to gain inspiration and begin construction of their practical exam.
Despite his rather cruel nature and culture shock to Beauxbatons Academy, he was not a particularly bad Headmaster in terms of international diplomacy and reestablishing alliances with Hogwarts and Durmstrang. He did, however, push for a more academic education that involved little of the arts, which was something that was blasphemous to the very expressiveness of the school. Yet, like all storms, Monaire too passed along having left his impact upon a very shaken up Beauxbatons. The subsequent Headmaster and those to follow would also take on a more isolated approach, but relieved many policies that restricted the arts.
Long before then, Beauxbatons had entered the 1900’s, a time where the world was uneasy in the muggle and magical world. The current Headmaster at the time was Laurent Givenchiese who, unlike the world, was a very stable and relaxed man. He was even revered as Laurent the Lounger, for despite his rather steadfast nature, he was very lazy. This laziness, however, seemed to benefit the students in that they felt completely void of the rules that were placed by the old Monaire the Unfair. There would be occasions, certainly, that Headmaster Laurent would put his foot down and become instantaneously serious over skirmishes or other dire events. Yet, when it came to managing his school, he did so with help, breaking the hiatus implemented from the 19th century Headmasters. Instead of having a Beauxbatons Ambassador, though, he decided to make a new role that was closer to he, and instituted the first Deputy Headmaster of Beauxbatons, John Francoeur.
While many were pleased with the decision to instate a Deputy Headmaster, many were intrigued by the rather English nature and background of John as a person. At one point in time, students were beginning to call him the first English Beauxbatons (Deputy)Headmaster, which was true in a sense, but not entirely.
John’s story is not necessarily complex, nor simple either. His parents were Kimberly and Louis Francoeur, an English woman and a French man, which was not entirely uncommon, but they decided to reside in the United Kingdom. When they had John, his full birth name was John Claude Francoeur, but Kimberly insisted on keeping just John, and so it became from that day forth. Since they resided in the U.K., they decided to send John to Hogwarts, where he would prosper as a very intellectual Slytherin and graduate near the top of his class. After graduation, he decided to study more and become specialized in his favorite subject, Herbology, so that he could teach at Hogwarts.
Although he became licensed to teach Herbology at all levels of rigor and difficulty after many years of training and fellowship, he was unable to teach at Hogwarts for they had filled all their positions. It was at that moment that his father Louis had suggested to branch out and to send an application to the Beauxbatons Academy. John, at first, was rather hesitant to do so as he didn’t believe they would accept him, an Englishman who spoke rough French, to teach at their school. His father, when faced with this hesitation, simply chuckled and told John that he had spoken French just fine and that of all places, Beauxbatons would be the most accepting.
Ultimately, his father’s words rang true, and Laurent Givenchiese accepted John to become a Herbology professor with open arms. Along with the Headmaster, the other professors took to John with heartfelt acceptance and insisted he help them expand their knowledge within currently-taught Herbology. John would later learn that their department was slightly behind, and proposed an improved curriculum. This very bold move took Headmaster Laurent back, and opened his eyes to the devotion of his newly hired professor.
As the years passed on, Givenchiese became to warm up to John as he continuously proved his worth as a notable Herbology professor loved by students and staff alike, despite his rather rigorous nature of his classes. Eventually, John too began to spend more time with the Headmaster and get a hold of what the state that wizarding schools were in at the time. Since the two began to get rather close, it was then that Laurent Givenchiese decided to instill the role of the Deputy Headmaster and give it to none other than John Francoeur.
Things were finally at peace once more as the leadership, the staff and the students at Beauxbatons were all in great condition. Yet, alike the peace that came in the many previous years, there was turmoil to follow. This turmoil, however, was more relentless than the others, as it came with the arrival of dark forces upon the exuberant school. With the rise of a particularly dark wizard came the rise of their followers and their allies. Due to the vulnerability of the school as a result of the laid-back temperament of the Headmaster, the attack happened nearly instantaneously. If it weren’t for the quick thinking of John Francoeur, many students could have been taken captive and/or recruited amongst the dark forces. However, he was not fast enough to get to the Headmaster’s office, where the dark followers were holding Laurent Givenchiese hostage.
Being the Slytherin (and Reynard) that he was, he decided that the only way to save him was to fight his way through, but to split up their forces inside the office. Cleverly, he would create mass distractions so the leader would one at a time send out a wizard to assess the situation, only to be faced by the Hogwarts Dueling Champion of 1901. Eventually, John got the amount of followers in the office to two, and he decided at that point to break in the office. Through one simple incantation of Bombarda, the door blast open to find a wand pointed at Laurent Givenchiese and another pointed at him. He knew, at that point, the only way to win would be if one of them struck him first, which they made the ultimate mistake of doing. John rebounded the curse upon the follower and stunned the other, freeing Laurent from their clutches. Upon freedom, John quickly sent an owl to another professor in a safe haven instructing them to reach out to the authorities when they arrive, considering said professor was a retired Auror. While he was writing however, he never realized that his colleague was immensely silent.
Through all the chaos and the battling, he never realized that the Headmaster was dead by the time he burst through the door. Naturally, John was in disbelief for he could have sworn that his mentor’s eyes were open. It then occurred to him that the Killing Curse never closes the eyes, it takes life in such a cruel, disrespectful way. Instantly, he bound again all the dark followers he could find around the Headmaster’s office. He knew that they would pay due to the various laws on the Unforgivable Curses, but he still felt that it wasn’t enough.
As the authorities arrived and secured the school, John made sure that everything was accounted for with the authorities and was even preparing a message to be sent out to the parents of the students. He hadn’t thoroughly realized that his duties of Headmaster had already begun, but he still acted as though he was. It wasn’t until an Auror addressed John as Headmaster that the grief set in full force for the young professor. Although he was reassured by the entirety of the Beauxbatons staff, he still felt as if something was missing. That missing link, however, was the very thing that Francoeur had craved from when he first entered the Academy’s doors: the true blessing of the school. What he did not know was that this link was never missing, for the school had helped him through the battle in helping him travel throughout the labyrinth-like hallways of the castle. This became evident to John the day of the grand celebration of life for Laurent Givenchiese, on his way back to the Headmaster office to complete his move-in, when he walked out of his old office instantly and directly into the new one.
That day forward, John Francoeur felt as if he was truly the Headmaster of the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. He had promised himself, and his late mentor that he would watch over the school and lead it with a passion like Amelie, a cleverness like Vincent, and a sternness like Marceau. He has much in store for him as Headmaster, as he enhances the defenses of the school, and of the students. Surely, he believed in creativity and expression, but now he knew it had to be expressed differently and in some cases, in battle.