The House of Bourbon-Vendôme referred to two branches of the House of Bourbon. The first House of Bourbon-Vendôme was descended from Louis, Count of Vendôme (1376 – 1446), a cadet of the House of Bourbon-La Marche. Though a younger son, Louis was fortunate enough to receive Vendôme through his mother. Vendôme was raised to a duchy-peerage in 1515 in favor of Charles de Bourbon. By 1527, Charles had outlived the Dukes of Alençon and Bourbon, and became First Prince of the Blood. Charles' son Antoine became King of Navarre by marriage; his grandson Henry outlived the House of Valois in 1589, and succeeded to the French throne as the first of the Bourbon kings.
Born in 1594, César de Bourbon was legitimised, and created Duke of Vendôme by his father, the king, in 1598. The title of Duke of Vendôme was chosen because it had been held by Henry IV's family prior to their accession to the French throne. After the creation of 1598, the title continued to be used by César de Bourbon's family for over a century.
In 1599, César de Bourbon also inherited the titles of Duke of Beaufort and Duke of Étampes upon the death of his mother. After César de Bourbon's death in 1665, he was succeeded as Duke of Vendôme by his first son Louis (1612–1669), while the title of Duke of Beaufort passed to his second son François (1616–1669).