Duval was the nephew and heir of the celebrated French cartographer Nicolas Sanson d'Abbeville, mapmaker to King Louis XIV of France. Sanson was responsible for a renaissance in geographical efforts in France, which paved the way for French domination in map production. The French school of cartography paid attention to precision and scientific detail, discarding much of the Iative embellishments of previous maps. Duval was appointed Chief Geographer to Louis XIV. When he died in 1683, the business passed to his widow and their two daughters, Marie-Angélique and Michelle.