Sites and Sounds of Revolutionary Paris

Revolutionary Tradition and Les Mis
Revolution 1789
--The Monarchy
--Tennis Court Oath
--Fall of the Bastille
--October Days
--Declaration of War
--Palace Invaded
--Louis XVI
--Reign of Terror
-- Fall of Robespierre
--At war
1789 in Les Miserables
--The Terror
--The People
--The Students
--The Monarchy
--Place de Concord
--Notre Dame
Daily Sites
--Street Names
--Children's Names and Games
Works Consulted

*Background map of 1839 Paris

Parisian Sites in Victor Hugo's Paris

Victor Hugo described the city of Paris in the following passage:

"Of bounds and limits Paris has none. No other city ever enjoyed that supreme control which sometimes derides those whom it reduces to submission. Paris does more then lay down the law; it lays down the fashion; Paris does more then lay down the fashion; it lays down the routine...What a marvel is such a city!...Its gaiety is of the thunderbolt, and its frolicking holds a scepter." (Victor Hugo Les Miserable, Marius, chapter X,514)

In order to fully appreciate the novel, Les Miserable, the symbolism behind the peoples names, games, places and palaces must be understood. The pages in this section are dedicated to doing just that, giving readers a working knowledge of the history behind a few of the sites.

To begin with, below is a list containing physical statistics of Victor Hugo's Paris (all statistics are taken from 1851 Paris guide book):

  • Paris is geographical located 48 degrees 50' 13" N latitude and 2 degrees 20' 15" E longitude
  • The longest day of the year was 16 hrs and 7 min. the shortest day was 8 hrs and 10min.
  • The maximum temperature was 34 degrees Celsius and the coldest weather was 9 degrees below zero C.
  • The Seine river travels through the heart of Paris going south east to north west, it is 70 leagues long and forms two islands. One island is St. Louis island about 1800 ft long and has been built on since Louis XII. The other island is the original seat of Paris the island Cite, formerly island de Itarly. The Seine provides the city with water by way of aqueducts.
  • The city had 39 ports where goods were inspected and bought and sold
  • There was approximately 45,000 homes and 13,000 shops in Paris around 1851