This paper explores the relative balance between socio-economic grievance and confessional and political division in urban revolts during the period of the French religious wars. More particularly, it focuses on two such incidents in the town of Troyes in Champagne in the summer of 1586 and what they can tell us about the influence of popular discontent on municipal politics and town–crown relations, as well as the impact of civil war, subsistence crisis and increasing taxation on urban communities. The continuity of the traditions of popular revolt are explored alongside the implications for royal authority of the official response to such unrest. Social tensions and economic concerns dominated events in the town, whilst the crown's right and ability to enforce its will continued to be accepted and upheld. Thus, despite the disruption of civil strife, the competing interests of the municipal authorities, the urban populace and the monarchy were able to maintain a delicate equilibrium through the traditional mechanism of negotiation and compromise.