Paris in 1789


Map Code: Ax00898

By 1789, Paris was the largest city in France and, on the eve of the Revolution of 1789, had a population of 600,000–650,000. Many had migrated from the Paris basin and from other parts of northern France. 1789 Paris remained largely unchanged since 1701, when Louis XIV relocated the royal court to Versailles, knocked down the city wall, replacing it with boulevards, introduced the Faubourgs (suburbs) and began an extravagant building programme which included the Place Vendome. By 1789 Paris was famous for its buildings and its rich café culture. There was also severe poverty, exacerbated by raised taxation and food shortages, creating tension between the urban (and rural) poor and nobility. The tension continued to increase and on 14 July 1789, a mob, looking for arms, stormed the Bastille, an armoury, fortress and jail near the Faubourg St Antoine. The storming of the Bastille led to the French Revolution.

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