Creator of the essay as a literary form, Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) served as a bridge between what we call the Early Modern period and Modernity. If his literary and philosophical achievements have received much attention, scholars have underplayed his public life. This talk will discuss his Essays in relation to Montaigne’s political activities, notably in the parliamentary, diplomatic, and administrative milieus of Bordeaux, without forgetting Montaigne’s accession to the middle-level nobility of Guyenne, the outcome of the Eyquem family’s long social ascent.