My favorite storyline in the Harry Potter genre is the 'Do Over'. It just has no end of shining possibilities! And I particularly like them combined with the 'Manipulative Dumbledore' plot.
But countless times I've been reading such a story (and there are quite a few gems) when I've wanted to practically scream at the screen, "No! Don't stay at Hogwarts! That's the seat of his power! He'll get you there!"
But, of course, Harry stays.
Now I know the appeal of this genre is to play in Rowling's world. But I see enough crossovers so I know there are some, quite a lot really, who'd be happy to play with her characters in a different setting. So I wondered why it didn't happen more frequently that Harry went to another school.
Tactically, it makes all sorts of sense. Ok, give him his first year at Hogwarts. There he saves Hermione and the situation is neither all that dark, nor desperate. Second year he saves Ginny, and saving a life is always a good thing to do. But what about later years?
The last life he saves at Hogwarts is at the end of Chamber of Secrets. After that he goes from being a hero saving people to a target in need of being saved.
Third year has no mystery for a time-traveling Harry. In fact, with so many careers in the Ministry hanging on the line, it makes sense that the only way to get Sirius cleared is to take him to another country, where embarrassing the British Ministry is a goal of politicians, not something those same politicians are willing to have someone Kissed to prevent. In fact it's the best resolution to his godfather's problems. So getting out of country with him makes most sense out of all possible options.
Fourth year you could leave him there or not as you wish, but it was not any particular fun to watch him having to be rescued task after task by other people giving him the secrets of how to get out alive (Hagrid showing him the dragons, Dobby giving him the Gillyweed, then his parents out of Voldemort's wand telling him to flee). It was far from his worst year, but he didn't exactly color himself with glory stumbling from one embarrassment to another.
But fifth? Oh, come ON! NOTHING good happened to Harry during fifth year or beyond! Nothing that he couldn't have accomplished much earlier with future knowledge, anyway. To have that knowledge, and yet stay anyway, reduces him from hero to abuse target - knowingly! And that just sticks in my craw.
So gradually, more and more, I've become an advocate of Harry going to another school; one where he might just get an education, rather than suffer abuse all of the time. Besides, especially in the case of a 'do-over' Harry, what has he got to learn at Hogwarts anyway? I mean, sure, he could make up for being a bad student the first time around, but what else?
No, more and more I've become interested in 'Harry at another school' stories, and there just aren't that many of them around, and most are short. Even those that start rarely get beyond simply getting him to the new school, as if they run out of material at that point.
Then I started to move Harry out of England to France myself, and I realized just what a load of work that is. You are given practically nothing in the source material! Undaunted, I made stuff up, but in doing so I realized I had a partial solution to my problem - people don't like to do more work than they have to. Creating an entirely new environment is a lot of work, much more than leaving him at Hogwarts or visiting some other book or series. Fan authors are there to play in other peoples' sandboxes, not to create their own.
So, realizing that I was creating just such a sandbox, I am inviting others to join me there.
It was my intention to create an institution that was quintessentially French. This was more difficult than it might seem, as it must also be fully magical, yet different from Hogwarts. That was no small task, and I greatly fear that I am to be guillotined for any errors. But I present to you this resource for you to follow my results.
Beauxbatons is not intended to be a perfect school. But rather I approached the institution with a 'same material, different errors' philosophy. So there is still superiority and bullying, it just has a different basis (fashion as opposed to blood). Their courses have a different emphasis, with some subjects taught better, some worse, and so on. For everything I gave them, I took something away, with even the fantastic beauty of the place having a tragic flaw or two.
It was, above all, my intent to create a place that was real and detailed yet that any author could use. Part of this meant avoiding such things as saying, "Oh, and his nemesis there is..." as that would be too story-specific. Although come to think of it, a small cast of fellow students he may not like could be helpful, I haven't actually gotten around to creating such.
Divided in sections for my own ease of reference, more than anything else. The History section got to be so long that it eventually merited its own chapter. Course material and Culture are due to follow.
The work entitled 'The Rise And Reign of Beauxbatons', bound in a three volume set, was far more interesting reading than 'Hogwarts: A History'. But it really had its roots in Ancient Rome, and much of Roman culture was borrowed from the Greeks.
In the time of Ancient Greece magical and mundane worlds were not separated at all, or not any more than the rich and poor were always separated. Nonmagical humans were taught to regard magical ones as gods, and worshipped them. It was that way all over the world.
Purebloods have been trying to get back to that state of affairs ever since.
Positions of specific deity, like Apollo and Diana, while originally specific individuals became inheritable as those first people grew old and died and other magicals took over for them so the mundanes worshiping them had a proper sense of continuity. They even had their own contests to determine who got what job, much like modern magicals competed over who got what position of authority in their current Ministries - which did a great deal to explain the convoluted and often contradictory tales of identity and parentage, which god did what and who married whom.
The job of Zeus, being the leader, was naturally a prime pick. The only one more sought after was Pan, the party god, until that led to some of the winners of the Zeus position doing things more suited to Pan, eventually leading to the reputation Zeus had of a womanizer.
And that tied in nicely to the phenomena of magicals born to mundane parents. They always just assumed those were the result of some Olympian having an affair with the parent - whether that parent knew it or not (the idea of shapechanging was always such a great excuse).
One of the more telling remnants of that time was how magicals still swore by the names of the more powerful of their kind.
Still, back then when they said things like 'Apollo showed up to bless the priest' they MEANT that Apollo, or at least the wizard who had that job currently, showed up, made an appearance, and did something to the priest, probably a beneficial spell. Although records of those false gods giving out powerful magical items to heroes were also true.
Anyway, when nascent Rome took over Greece that relationship between magical and mundane worlds remained largely unchanged. Rome's great advance lay in the fact that they absorbed the 'gods' of the conquered people into their own magical society rather than destroying them, as had previously been the norm. The names of the jobs changed, but not much else. Naturally this caused some squabbles as new pecking orders had to be established, but all in all it left the burgeoning empire with twice the magical firepower it would have if they'd gone the normal way and exterminated the defeated magical people, as the Olympians had so eagerly done to the Titans before them.
Suddenly the Roman pantheon of witches and wizards masquerading as gods was the most powerful in the business, and they happily went about proving that to all of their neighbors, conquering them and absorbing their magicals in much the same way until it was literally as much as they could do to govern what they already controlled.
The current modern glut of magical means of travel did not exist back then. It was horses, for the most part, just the same as mundanes used - although enchanted chariots did tend to go faster than the mundane versions. And owl post was not invented until the end, when one of the Athenas began to wonder 'Why have I got this owl for a symbol anyway?' and tried to work out some use for the lazy bird, finally getting it to carry packages and eventually notes for her, a development that surely would have saved the Empire had it been even twenty years earlier.
If the pantheon of Rome's false gods had had apparation, floo systems, modern brooms and owl post, in all likelihood the Empire would never have fallen. As it was, to communicate they actually had to go around and talk to people, and that meant travel over hundreds or even thousands of miles using methods not much better than their mundane cousins.
As it was, they'd relied on Hermes, aka Mercury the Messenger God, to carry notes back and forth, and it was discovered way back in Greece that job wasn't any fun, running around being other peoples' errand boy; so to convince wizards to take it they'd been forced to give it other responsibilities, and that meant he was NOT devoting his full time or attention to getting the mail delivered. Indeed, he often resented doing it and so put it off whenever possible while he fiddled with other things, and that created delays.
The Pony Express would have done a much better job.
Centralizing authority over such a vast empire delayed response time significantly to both internal and external threats. After all, mundanes only paid homage to magicals because they provided valuable services in the form of false miracles, using magic to help out on critical mundane problems from time to time. And the mundanes don't go on doing that if none of their requests for assistance get answered.
So the central communities of magical beings in Rome and on Olympus decided early on to seed colonies of subservient magical clans in order to keep up services around the vast Roman holdings.
It was the only way to hold up the status quo.
But it was still all one empire and 'One Empire, One Pantheon' was the rule. That meant, of course, that they still had to hold up the image and myth of their false gods being able to answer prayers anywhere in their territory, which need translated into several groups all masquerading as the same gods, so there were several wizards serving as Jupiter, several more serving as Mars, etc, all of them with their own territories to cover.
And all of that leads us to the founding of Paris as a Roman settlement. Having conquered it from the Celts at or around 52 BC they needed proper Roman gods installed just as they established the mundane side of government.
When Roman magical colonists arrived a school was established to educate their children in the ways of magic, and the magical education system of France had been running more or less uninterrupted from that point, making them arguably twice as old as Hogwarts - a claim it would have been easier to maintain had they not had some serious upheavals, changing names, locations, and styles of government more than once during that time.
Of minor historical note: the original forges of Hephaestus, the wizard 'god' of smiths, were destroyed in the original war when Rome first subdued Greece, and were never replaced. So even though his position got passed on, the work he did largely ceased. This explained why just about every Greek hero of note could claim some mighty weapon or suit of armor forged by the gods for him to use, but the Roman heroes didn't.
That was also the point at which Zeus stopped tossing around lightning bolts - the wizard who knew how to make them had died, along with all of his apprentices, when those forges were destroyed as part of the Roman invasion. A stroke which Roman generals of the time felt was a necessary part of the subdual of the region, as it truly broke the Greek defenses, but Roman heroes and scholars and mages had ever since mourned the lack of, for the Empire was certainly poorer without those facilities and the knowledge lost with them.
Without the loss of that center of creativity and invention, and the magical item creation and enchantment that went with it, it is quite possible things might have turned out another way.
Anyway, the Empire fell (mostly due to internal corruption and infighting) and for a while most everyone, magic or mundane, was more concerned with staying alive than with observing the old societal forms.
The Fall of Rome was the End Of The World for most concerned, and it would be a very long time indeed before any kind of nation worth the name rose from the ashes of that mighty empire. What this meant on a personal scale was that supply, order, and authority ceased and the protection they offered died with them. That meant no legions to protect you from the barbarian hordes. That meant no one could stay in the cities since they weren't getting any more food, fuel or water shipped in; and that meant no laws or judges, which made criminals and thugs the biggest bullies on the block, and thus for a long time Might Made Right as many of the worst thugs went on to become tribal chieftains, then kings.
It was a very unsettling period to live through as basically all the rules of society you take for granted just stopped working one day. People went to sleep all fat and happy with their bread and circuses and suddenly woke up to find themselves cast as extras in Conan the Barbarian. But other sources had more eloquently and penetratingly portrayed the terrible magnitude of the empire's descent into anarchy.
This descent was true of the magicals as well. People fled the cities for the same reasons as the mundanes did, and that took virtually all of the established societal rules and threw them out the window. Then each of the Malfoys and Dumbledores and Riddles of the period went nuts contesting for control of what was left. Everyone who wanted power suddenly saw it undefended and within his grasp - all he had to do was take it.
The results of that were nearly genocidal. The flower of Roman wizardry perished in blood. All this left were the dregs, the misfits and the outcasts, who quietly went on living through the Dark Ages of Wizardry until finally they pulled themselves back into some sort of order a few hundred years after the worst of it was over.
Of course all of that was plenty of time for magical and mundane neighbors to get used to each other, and the whole mystique of holding the one as gods went away when they saw the low-power magicals up close and personal over a few generations, and learned they had to eat and sleep, got cold, dirty and miserable, fell sick and died just like anybody.
Close connection with barely trained magicals had taken away their aura of mystery from the mundanes they'd once ruled over, perhaps forever. And certain segments of magical society had ever since mourned its loss.
During this period not a few of the more competent magicals tried to recreate the status quo they'd once had, making appearances imitating Catholic Saints and trying to restart the whole 'I do tricks, you worship me' arrangement they'd once enjoyed. But those efforts more or less fell flat, until by and large they'd stopped attempting them.
It wasn't that they couldn't convince gullible mundanes of their powers, that was easy. No, it was something deeper. Traditional wizards had never felt comfortable with Christianity at all, and the root of that was that Jesus Christ was not a wizard nor a magical creature, nothing that they could identify really; and that made them nervous when he and his followers went around doing wonders, because a teeny, tiny corner of their minds wondered if he wasn't exactly what he said he was - the son of a living God.
But they largely rejected that idea out of hand, and did their best to avoid thinking about it. They themselves had been playing frauds for so long it was just simpler to assume, in spite of the evidence, that he was just a better faker than they were, and put aside all of the questions about why was it mundanes who followed him could gain miraculous power.
The power of faithful priests was still something wizards could not explain; and they had a continual reminder before their faces in that vampires and other evil things reacted to holy symbols despite the complete lack of magic to them, creating effects which could not be exactly duplicated by any known magic.
There were other things to be said there, but they had nothing to do with the history of Beauxbatons.
As kingdoms and courts stabilized through parts of Europe, witches and wizards found their places in them, as anyone powerful was apt to do - whether that power be based in how many castles or farms you controlled, or the political influence or spies you maintained. If you held power, the courts of those kings welcomed you to use it in their service.
Thus transited the magical beings from objects of false worship to court magicians.
This was a time of great reconstruction for everyone, when old Roman roads were being reestablished, commerce reawakening, and things began to settle down, rising out of the near-tribal era things had fallen into for a time. And the witches and wizards began to look back to rediscover some of their lost arts - many of them because kings they served had heard tales of past accomplishments and called upon their wizards to duplicate them. Soon or late they began to barter this knowledge among themselves, and when that happened they once again began to create a magical society.
It would be a long time before either magic or mundanes would again rise to where they could equal any of the wonders of the fallen empire, but the long road to recovery had begun where rediscovery and progress had reappeared at last.
This was the period when, slowly and with great difficulty, the ruined edifices of the magical colony of Paris got restored. Students and teachers migrated out of the woodland homes they had fled to to once more rejoin the cities, transforming things from the apprenticeship program it had fallen back into to the center of academic learning it had once been. Stray teachers who had camped out in portions of the center, raising descendants who'd been taught, raised, lived and died there, teaching only their own descendants, put away the feuds that had cropped up between their clans during the centuries and once more began to educate a wider magical populace than just their own offspring.
Of course this was largely accomplished by some few of those teachers who'd gone to court getting royal backing, and entering into those halls backed by soldiers who united them under the blades of swords, killing quite a few clans while doing it, but politics was ever thus; and government, true government, was always backed by one thing - force.
It was all very well and good to speak of peace and unity, but more often than you'd think that was brought about by someone getting killed.
Speaking of that, back during the days of court wizards, magic was just as much a part of battles as swords. Every kingdom used their magicals as just another weapon in their wars. The trouble with that was anybody could draft a few hundred peasants and arm them, then see them all slaughtered and do it all over again. But you couldn't do that with wizards. Well, those who did swiftly had no wizards. It takes years of training for them to be any good, and kings are rarely patient fellows. A few days training was good enough for mundane soldiers, so they allocated no more to their magicals.
These kings were almost universally uneducated men, and couldn't imagine the difference it made, nor could they be convinced of the need for it. Attempts to explain were seen as excuses to disguise laziness. After all, what other reason could there be to demand years off when other men their age were giving valuable service?
Wizards must be cowards and slackers, that's all. And the answer to that was to shove them to the front lines and let the feel of real battle make honest men out of them!
"I've never done that before," or "I don't know how" were not acceptable excuses, apt only to enrage muscle headed chieftains who've never had to master a skill more cerebral than picking up a sword or getting on top of a horse, and whose only knowledge of books is that they burn well in a campfire.
"What are you standing there thinking about? Just get out there and DO IT!" was the cry.
It was a barbaric world with barbaric ways of thinking. And back then they drafted soldiers young. Fourteen was a fairly typical starting age for the front line cannon fodder to be eaten up by more experienced men. Wizards with that little training and experience (and they'd only just begun to pluck themselves back up after centuries of being next to nothing at all) were easily overcome by muggle soldiers, especially attacking en mass. Luckily drafting witches was not done, because back then it was unthinkable to send women off to war. But if they had, the magical race of man would unquestionably have died out.
As it was, magical society went through another huge dark age. While not quite as bad as the fall of Rome, it was perfectly awful enough. Anybody with training got drafted, and most wizards barely knew how to use a wand before they saw battle, ending up with a sword through their gullet before they'd figured out what was going on.
Naturally, fewer and fewer magical mothers wanted their children getting drafted and sent off to die in some pointless exchange. So they stopped reporting their children to court. They also started to warn their boys away from royal service as sternly as they could, and those that did not succeed in convincing them saw their sons die, so witches shared what worked among themselves so their sisters and friends, cousins and aunts would not lose their little boys. A bare handful of copper coins was cold comfort to a mother weeping by her boy's tombstone. Thus, gradually wizards stopped appearing to volunteer their service at courts.
But while they saw wizards as cowards, and easily broken, magicals did have their uses, and an unwilling conscript could still be turned into an adequate soldier. So when wizards stopped showing up and volunteering, the kings went out actively looking to draft them into service whether they wanted to go or not.
So the magicals turned from merely not volunteering into actively hiding as kings began to feel the lack of the magical skills they'd begun to rely on and went searching to drag them off to war by their ears. Since every wizard to report for duty got used up to the point of failure, like any other weapon, soon the only ones left were the ones who didn't care to be found. And then the ones easily found got found and used up, so soon magicals became very adept at disappearing whenever the king's press gangs showed up.
Wizards still appeared and wandered around town when they wanted to. After all, there was no anonymity in a medieval world. There were few enough people around, and since nobody did any amount of travel to speak of, everybody knew everyone they were liable to meet. Strangers stood out. But they had goods to sell and things to buy, so the magicals often went out to market, or to a pub, just like anybody.
But a strategy of 'gone when you are looking, there when you are not' is inherently unsound. Tempers last, especially among defied monarchs. Going out among the peasants when the king was angry with you was liable to end up in attacks by bounty hunters who would be paid in gold for delivering you. So, since they got tired of being fined, jailed, or tortured for draft avoidance, magicals just started doing business with each other more and more so they didn't have to go out among their mundane neighbors as often.
And resentment began to build between the mundane peasants, who had no choice but to send their sons off to die in their lord's futile little border wars, and the magicals who began, by and large, to avoid them. So the muggle bounty hunters tried harder, getting angrier, so in return the wizards took better care to avoid being seen around their mundane kin.
Magical people soon started to see to their own needs, trading their own farm products and spells among each other. And, like any isolated community, specialists began to appear so you could go to someone to buy new shoes, or whatever.
For the first time in history, magical and mundane worlds started to truly pull apart. They were not fully separate yet, mundane wives could still find someone to go to when they needed a spell or a potion for this or that trouble, but it was the beginning.
Magical villages began to form, completely separate from their mundane kin, and yet very oddly like them. Magical culture, art and styles of dress hadn't changed much since, which, oddly enough, eventually became one of the greatest differences between the magical and mundane worlds.
Because the mundanes changed. They changed A LOT! And at least at the start that was all driven by their ruling court fashions. Ostentatious displays of wealth were a big part of how the nobility showed they were separate and different from the lower classes. Fashion was a big part of that, and the single biggest aspect of fashion lies in one thing - change.
Clothes changed, colors changed, food changed, hairstyles came and went and every step of the way the serfs followed as best they could in the steps of the nobles. It was not long before there became real differences in the styles of the mundane world, which followed after the courts seeking for their favor, and the magical worlds that didn't.
Of course this separation was not as clean or as easy as it sounds. Wizards are not, and never have been, a homogeneous bunch who shared the same universal opinions. There were many who felt differently than the rest, or disagreed with the way things were heading, or just plain felt the others were being disloyal to their crowned heads of state.
Naturally, most of these dissenters went out to go tell the king about it, and armies followed them back, leading to surprise conscriptions and imprisoned dissenters.
Most often, this led to the misguided 'patriot's' family, friends, and neighbors either dead or in chains. And, of course, not even the most authority-loving, brown-nosing toady in the universe is happy when he feels he has been betrayed like that. He only went to the king in the first place because he trusted him to make things right, not eliminate his entire village.
And, needless to say, it is hard to get a girlfriend when you've been the one responsible for seeing all of her male relatives dragged off and either slaughtered in war or imprisoned.
It makes the witches downright frigid, it does.
Still, enough young idealists tried foolish actions along those lines that the magical presence soon faded from the regions closest to their local monarchs. If it took the king a day or two to ride at the head of his knights to slay or conscript you, and your crystal ball could get warning of this, that was a day or two you had to get your people out before disaster struck.
Pretty soon they had an acceptable balance, where the social stigma of those who tried to sell their communities out to their kings was bad enough that few were fools enough to try, and they had a sufficient distance and warning set up to cancel the efforts of those that did.
Magical communities existing, while not exactly in secret, at least in seclusion, not getting along with their mundane neighbors and essentially turning inward to ignore the outside world's concerns was the start of what would become the modern magical world.
The elements were all there. They just hadn't developed fully yet.
Describing things up until that point was, with some school-specific references, the bulk of what got covered in the first volume of The Rise And Reign of Beauxbatons.
The school itself was the subject of the second volume of the set. The building was an old one, actually predating the fall of the Roman Empire by quite a few hundred years. It had been established in the first place as a small temple servicing several nearby country villas for wealthy Roman senators, a comfortable distance from Bordeaux in the Aquitaine region. With the fall of the Roman Empire this became a small, self-serving community and one of the most stable islands of sanity and order around.
It had been fashionable for some time to brag that one's country villa was a self-sufficient entity unto itself, making everything they used right there on the property. No quality could have been more perfect to survive the otherwise all-encompassing collapse of Empire, and a neighborhood of these made things downright cozy for a while.
They also had enough warning of the impending collapse to make preparations for it, and the forests surrounding this area got seeded by the local chapter of the Roman Pantheon with the various magical beasts at their disposal. So, even though Legions were no longer available to protect them, a few manticores would do.
Thus sheltered, they never fell as far as the rest of the formerly Roman communities. Very few of the senatorial families who owned these villas managed to reach the estates in the final days of chaos and invasion of the Empire, so the mundane servants who ran them came after a few generations to regard them as their own.
This could have been the start of greater things than it was save for the fact that their control over the magical beasts released as guardians was not as great as they had hoped, and a couple of manticores eventually hunted them all to extinction.
But the buildings remained, and as the centuries passed, the high concentration of magical beasts in that forest dispersed, until finally in the tenth century those well preserved ruins got discovered by wandering magicals in search of places to hide from the press gangs of their king. It took very little effort at all for their spells to clean up living spaces, repair neglect and prepare the buildings for habitation. Thus a whole new community was formed, and the first time a king tried to send soldiers to recruit from their ranks, his troops got eaten by a dragon on their way through the surrounding woods.
Thus began a long tradition of cultivating the natural and magical hazards in a buffer zone around the settlement, eventually leading to legends of an enchanted forest where no knight could go without encountering adventure (often fatal).
This privacy and lack of interruption by outside parties finally restarted magical society in earnest. Though the scrolls they discovered there were decayed and old, and the Roman scholars were not nearly so obsessive about recording every detail as the following cultures would have liked (they preferred a people teaching people approach rather than a books teaching people one), still, from the records discovered there began the first big resurgence of Roman magical knowledge.
It was also, incidentally, this and other finds like it that firmly established Latin as the language of magic throughout Europe, as opposed to the language that everybody spoke. Which is ironic, in a way, because those Roman magicals used Latin because it was the language everybody spoke. It was far more impressive to command a stone to rise, and have it rise, so the public can see you can command the very elements, than for you to be blurting out obscure gibberish at it.
Besides, back in Rome the language of education and sophistry was Greek. So if they'd wanted their spells to be incomprehensible to the common people that is what they'd have used, and therefore what their modern descendants would be using.
This foundation of magic gave rise to a community of spell users so much in advance of the rest of those in those territories that would later become France that the inhabitants came to be called Beauxbatons, or Beautiful Wands, for their comparatively amazing magical skill. And the place name and the people name mingled, as they often do, until they were one.
This naturally led to flocks of magical immigrants of every kind, hoping to study there. This was somewhat disgruntling to those who saw themselves as competitors.
For the longest time the Aquitaine region was its own separate political entity from the rest of France, so there was something of a competition between the Paris magical facilities for training young witches and wizards, and those at Beauxbatons. However, those at Paris were far less secure from their local monarch, and combined with the lack of the facilities and records rediscovered in the Roman settlement at what became Beauxbatons, it was the Parisan wizarding school who came out the worst in those competitions.
Thus, it was with no small amount of glee that Parisan wizards consolidated their faculty and students together at the facilities of Beauxbatons upon the marriage of the Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine to King Louis VII of France in 1137. They felt they had a certain amount of egg on their faces when her marriage was annulled in 1152; and when she married King Henry II of England in 1154 they felt downright abashed. Still, the schools had been combined and there was little that could be done without severe damage to both institutions. Although the Paris facilities had been retained and used as an annex, they were no longer sufficient to run a school from, so education continued on at Beauxbatons.
Luckily for the French, the colossal mismanagement of Prince John when he ascended to the throne of England lost the English all of their French holdings, and the embarrassment of French magicals being educated at English-owned establishment came to an end.
Things continued on pretty smoothly until 1560, when a witch who had married into Spanish nobility, and whose family had become fantastically wealthy from all the gold and treasures being brought back by the conquistadors, bequeathed a vast fortune on Beauxbatons for the express purpose of modernizing the somewhat decayed campus and expanding their facilities. In response, many buildings were named after Adelaide De Basque in her honor.
In truth, the fortune she'd bequeathed them was so vast at first there was a great confusion over how to use it. That was settled by the Headmaster of the time, a Ferdinand Delacroix, who decreed that Beauxbatons must have only the best. Thus began a process whereby they identified the best painters, architects and sculptors of their time (virtually all of whom were muggles), and hired them secretly away, faking their deaths in the muggle world so they could devote their time fully to serving the magical one.
The pay and benefits offered were so large very few refused. Most merely saw it as a change of patronage, and no muggle potentate could offer them the tools or comforts a magical one could. Those who did refuse forgot wizards even made the offer, thus marking the beginnings of the practice of controlling muggle knowledge with spells to ensure the safety of the magical one.
This pattern of kidnapping artists and faking their deaths had already been established to a small degree when an Italian wizard and fan of his works had hired the painter Raphael away from the muggle world at the age of thirty-seven. But this wizard was persuaded to lend him to the reconstruction of the school.
Thus Beauxbatons began their search for the best, and Michelangelo became the principle architect and designer of the new campus, spending sixteen years of his life on the work and setting them firmly ahead of all other magical institutions as far as culture and beauty of the academy and their architecture.
The great alchemist Nicholas Flamel was persuaded to extend the lives of these talented men by a dozen years in each case, so they could devote the extra time to their work on his alma mater. It was also due to the efforts of providing skilled magical assistants to these famous men that the program of arts at Beauxbatons became firmly established, and has been running uninterrupted ever since. The Flamel building, built in his honor, where study of Potions is centered has also had a run of successes in its long history.
In a strange reversal, the great architectural achievements of the height of classical France were a dim reflection of those at Beauxbatons, based on concepts brought out by squibs seeking work as artists in the muggle world.
Leonardo da Vinci was the last of the great Renaissance men to contribute substantially to the completion of the newly rejuvenated school, placing his mark upon it by the many varied devices he contributed, including mobile fountains wandering the grounds, floating just a few feet above the grass, a dumbwaiter system that not only used tiny elevators in the walls, but also a small railroad under the floors for picking up and delivering snacks, laundry or teaching materials, and many interesting flying machines that have become the height of popularity in their own interesting races.
A great many whirring steampunk devices have been tucked into odd corners of campus by him, many fanciful, some functional, and a few even for use as pranks on guests.
The enchanting program was also begun in his honor.
The school brought about on the foundations of its Roman past, the donations of Adelaide De Basque, and the inspired leadership of Ferdinand Delacroix, together with the work of famous Renaissance men and artists, has continued along strongly ever since, and France sees no reason why this great institution should ever fail. In fact for centuries it was so prosperous that it bought up many of the surrounding farms outside of its barrier forest, and began to work them to supply itself and the French magical community.
Today those farms still serve the school and magical community, and are protected by the same charms the English use to drive muggles away from their Quidditch stadiums. In fact, they were pioneered here by the French. No muggle roads lead into this area, nor does it appear on any government map, although it can be driven to if one knows the right muggle garages to turn into, and keep on driving through what appears to be the back wall - charms in this case copied from the English who use them at King's Cross Station for foot traffic.
Thus this unplottable stretch of French countryside is not only idyllic, but one of the largest muggle-free zones in Europe, and the heart of their magical community, with many small villages in addition to the school and its environs.