Sites and Sounds of Revolutionary Paris

Peoples Palace of the Revolution
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

palace of the of the Tuileries (1476-1871)

The palace of the Tuileries, along with its gardens, will always be remembered as a place of bloody confrontations and liberating moments in Paris's history. The palace was stormed 4 times by angry Parisians and even the king, Louis XVI and his family, were kept as prisoners within its walls. The palace housed both of the ruling classes of Paris at various times, the monarchy and the republican rebels, making it a historical marker of the tumultuous events of the French Revolutions.

*this map of 1870 Paris clearly shows the outline of the Tuileries palace
Throughout Victor Hugo's novel, Les Miserable, the author makes various references to the many revolutions that occurred within the city of Paris. While vibrantly describing the Parisian mans spirit, Victor Hugo, summons to mind many historical events, events that at the time were very fresh in every Parisians mind. The political voice of Les Miserable forces the reader to become familiar with pivotal moments in the French revolutions. Some of the bloodiest and rememberable moments of the French revolutions took place on the front steps or interior of the Palace of the Tuileries. The palace was stormed four times by different Parisian crowds, each demanding new improvements in Paris society. Louis XVI was driven out of his palace at Versailles and forced to live in the Tuileries, making the monarch closer to the people and their demands. In the below quote Hugo recalls August 10, 1792, when a Parisian mob broke into the palace killing many of the guards, while searching for the royal family who had escaped.
Nobody sleeps better than he (a Parisian), nobody is more frankly frivolous and idle than he, nobody seems to forget things more easily than he; but do not trust him, notwithstanding; he is apt at all sorts of nonchalance, but when there is glory to be gained he is wonderful in every species of fury. Give him a pike and he will play the tenth of August; give him a musket, and you shall have an Austerlitz.
(Les Miserable, book iii, chapter v)


  • In 1476, during the reign of Charles VI, the field that the palace towered over was nothing but green fields just beyond the city limits of Paris. The field was used mostly for city trash dumping.
  • In 1518 Francis I purchased a house that had been erected on the spot by Des Essarts, for his mother, who found the existing royal home, the Palis des Tournelles in Marais, stuffy and uncomfortable. He demolished the existing building and built a grand house.
  • In 1564 Catherine de Medici took up residence at the palace and began expanding the building by adding wings to the louvre, and created the west wing or the Tuileries palace. However, after she met with her fortune teller, and was advised to beware of the ghost of St. Germain, she abandoned the palace for good.
  • When Henri IV inhabited the residence he too expanded it by adding large art galleries and pavilions which connected to the louvre.
  • October 6, 1789 a crowd of women marched on Versailles and forced the royal family to move to Paris, and occupy the Tuleries. This significant day made the monarch
  • On June 20, 1792 the palace was attacked by an angry Parisian crowd, who were asking for the food and water conditions that the people of Paris were living in to be remedied.
  • Again on August 10, 1792 angry Parisians attacked the palace and massacred 600 Swiss guards, keeping some of their remains as trophies. The mob was looking for the royal family who had already fled palace by way of the gardens and were on their way to the headquarters of the Legislative Assembly. The confrontation was the bloodiest of the revolution thus far!
  • In 1808 Napoleon began constructing the northern gallery which also connects to the Louvre. Under Napoleon, the palace became the official residence of the first consul and imperial palace
  • After the restoration, the palace became the chief residence of the king, and royal family. This was to make sure the king was in touch with the people who allowed him to return to the thrown as a constitutional monarch.
  • July 29, 1830 the palace was attacked for a third time by Parisians and occupied it until Louis Philipee had the problem remedied by making more promises. He also took up permanent residence there until 1848 when it was again invaded, on February 24, 1848, and never again used as a royal residence. The Swiss guards stationed at the palace, aware of what happened in 1792 to their predecessors, abandoned the palace.
  • On February 26, 1848 a decree was issued, that was never executed, stating that the palace was to be used as an asylum for invalid workers.
  • During the revolution of 1848, when it was invaded, the rebels used the palace as a hospital for their wounded.
  • In 1849 painting and sculpture exhibitions were displayed in the palace and it also under went a make over, being complimented with tastes of 16th century Italian architecture.
  • In 1871 the palace was burned to the ground during a clash with another communard government. The burnt remains sat for 12 years before they were disposed of and the gardens enlarged.

 * This is a picture of the burnt remains of the palace (internet)