By the beginning of the seventeenth century Nîmes had become the most important manufacturing centre in Languedoc and a significant Protestant city. The Reformed faith had made significant gains among the people of the city, converting the greater part of the urban population. Louis XIV’s Edict of Fontainbleau, issued in 1685, ended the guarantee of civil rights to the Protestant population of France under the terms of the 1598 Edict of Nantes and restored the official monopoly of faith in the kingdom to Catholicism. However, for over 50 years prior to that, after periods of unrest culminating in the siege of La Rochelle and the Peace of Alès, the confessional peace had lasted from 1629 to 1685. The effects of the Revocation are well known, but the problem of how the Reformed and Catholic congregations interacted during the years when the terms of the Edict of Nantes were in effect has been studied to a lesser extent.1 That the middle decades of the seventeenth century marked a time when tensions and hostilities between the two faiths remained but went underground has long been assumed.2 Those interested in finding points of intolerance and conflict within the kingdom are able to list devout organizations, angry publications, isolated riots and disturbances to confirm a long-held view that the two religions inhabited separate spaces.3 Some, however, have dug deeper into the relationships between communities to search out similarities and toleration. Elisabeth Labrousse argues that, in terms of daily life in the localities, there was no great controversy over coexistence between Catholic and Protestant. In fact, she has found that in many parts of France, it was difficult for the two faiths to stay separate for reasons of family, neighbourhood and professional ties.4 Gregory Hanlon has argued convincingly that the seventeenth-century definition of toleration included a deep-seated hostility toward the other religion that recognized the inability to destroy

it without causing unacceptable damage to society. As he has found in Aquitaine, after 1629 communities with sizable minorities, fearing the return of violence, chose often uneasy coexistence as an alternative to war.5 It is not surprising that closely knit urban populations should seek compromise in order to heal wounds rent open by the Wars of Religion.