Paris: City of Light

Scandals of the Upper-Class


Parisian Salons
 ~Salons of   Enlightenment
 ~Madame de   Stäel         
~Salons of the   Restoration
 ~The Salons of   Victor Hugo

Influence of Printed Materials
 ~Pre-Revolutionary   Timeline
 ~Post-Revolutionary   Timeline


Defining the Parisians
 ~Parisians Viewed   by Foreigners
 ~Parisians   Viewed by   Themselves
 ~Paris Fashion




Image 2.4 Playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

One of the most interesting and famous memoires describes the legal battles of Beaumarchais, whose entire life seemed to be a controversy. He was born to a middle-class family but had ambition and talent. Probably his most helpful attribute in climbing the social ladder was his ability to make personal connections with influencial members of high society. After befriending the wealthy Joseph Paris-Duverney, Beaumarchais became his financial partner and even a creditor in his estate after Duverney's death. But the settlement of accounts was challenged by Duverney's heir, who claimed that Beaumarchais had forged signatures. Beaumarchais was found innocent, but Duverney's heir appealed the verdict, and the case was sent to a higher court. Meanwhile, Beaumarchais had been untimely imprisoned because of unrelated affairs. Beaumarchais was released from prison in order to present the customary bribe to the magistrate. The aristocratic Goezman couple cruely informed him of the guilty verdict while keeping 15 louis of his bribe! In an outraged response, Beaumarchais documented the heartless acts of Judge Goezman and his wife in his memoires.