Pleasures and Pastimes of the Bourgeoisie


Restaurants and the French Revolution
~ Pre -revolution

~Fashion in Les Mis

~Rise in Popularity
~Economic and Social Symbolism
~Representation in Les Mis

Gardens ~17th Century ~18th Century ~19th Century ~Versailles

Gambling ~Pre-Revolutionary ~Cafés & Cercles

Opéra & Theatre
~The Revolution
~Social Status
~Les Misérables

Etiquette ~Promenade ~Dances ~Dinner ~Casinos and Salons

Bibliography ~Fashion ~Etiquette ~Restaurants ~Opéra ~Picture Bibliography



"A peasant from Montrouge, full of common sense,

called the French revolution the battle of the eater and the eaten."

- Mercier


In the 19th century France restaurants played a large role in the life of the bourgeoisie. As styles and tastes in cuisine developed, members of the bourgeoisie utilized the social arena of the restaurant to display wealth, social status and good taste. The following pages will discuss a brief history of the French Restaurant and the social and economic significance of restaurants.


Les Trois Freres Provencaux, H. Roger-Viollet, 1842

This drawing of a famous Parisian restaurant depicts members of the bourgeoisie in full display, enjoying the social arena of the restaurant.


As in the drawing above, restaurants were an important part of a bourgeoisie's daily life. Members of the bourgeoisie not only enjoyed dining at restaurants for their culinary delicacies, but the utilized them as another step on the ladder towards aristocracy. Restaurants served as social gatherings for the bourgeoisie, where members of the social class could parade their latest fashions, show off their wealth, and display their well-rehearsed manners. Thus restaurants served as a part of the 'social climbing bourgeoisie's' struggle to achieve the coveted status of aristocracy.