Paris the capital of France and has been one of Europe’s most significant fashion, arts, and commerce centers since the seventeenth century. The city also houses some of the world’s most famous buildings, such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. Paris was also a key city for significant historical events, such as the Age of Enlightenment and the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution.


Latitude: 48.856554046512
Longitude: 2.351524829865

Timeline of Events Associated with Paris

Date Event Manage

5 May 1789 to 10 Nov 1799

French Revolution

Representation of the Declaration of the Rights of ManThe French Revolution occurred from 5 May 1789 to 9-10 November 1799. Image: Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier, Representation of The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 26 August 1789 (c. 1789). This work is in the public domain in the United States.

On 5 May 1789, the Estates-General, representing the nobility, the clergy, and the common people, held a meeting at the request of the King to address France’s financial difficulties. At this meeting, the Third Estate (the commoners) protested the merely symbolic double representation that they had been granted by the King. This protest resulted in a fracture among the three estates and precipitated the French Revolution. On 17 June, members of the Third Estate designated themselves the National Assembly and claimed to represent the people of the nation, thus preparing the way for the foundation of the republic. Several pivotal events followed in quick succession: the storming of the Bastille (14 July), the approval of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (26 August), and the march on Versailles that led to the enforced relocation of the royal family to Paris (5-6 October). These revolutionary acts fired the imagination of many regarding the political future of France, and, indeed, all of Europe. The republican period of the revolution continued in various phases until 9-10 November 1799 when Napoleon Bonaparte supplanted the government.


Diane Piccitto, "On 1793 and the Aftermath of the French Revolution"

5 Sep 1793 to 27 Jul 1794

Reign of Terror

Portrait of RobespierreA period of violence that occurred a few years after the start of the French Revolution. Image: Anonymous, Portrait of Maximilien de Robespierre (c. 1790), Carnavalet Museum. This image is in the public domain in the United States because its copyright has expired.

On 5 September 1793, the National Convention, France’s ruling body from 1793 to 1795, officially put into effect terror measures in order to subdue opposition to and punish insufficient support for the revolution and the new regime. From the autumn of 1793 until the summer of 1794, thousands of people across the country were imprisoned and executed (including the Queen) under the ruthless leadership of Maximilien Robespierre. The guillotine, particularly the one in Paris’s Place de la Révolution, served as the bloody emblem of the fear tactics that began to manifest themselves first in the formation of the Committee of Public Safety (6 April 1793) and subsequently in the implementation of the Law of Suspects (17 September 1793). The Terror ended on 27 July 1794 with the overthrow of Robespierre, who was guillotined the next day.


Diane Piccitto, "On 1793 and the Aftermath of the French Revolution"

14 Mar 1824 to 25 Apr 1824

Sgricci’s Paris performances

From 14 March to 25 April 1824, Celebrity improvvisatore Tommaso Sgricci performed extemporized one-man dramas in Paris theatres.

Related Articles

Angela Esterhammer, “1824: Improvisation, Speculation, and Identity-Construction”

24 Feb 1848

Times reports on Paris revolt

On 24 February 24 1848, news of revolt in Paris is reported in the second edition of The Times, although the scale of the uprising is not immediately appreciated. This begins extensive coverage of events in France, with newspapers in Britain often publishing several editions in one day to keep up with the fast changing situation.


Jo Briggs, “1848 and 1851: A Reconsideration of the Historical Narrative”

May 1855

Scheutz’s Difference Engine

Scheutz Difference Engine, 1855.In May 1855, the difference engine of Georg and Edvard Scheutz debuts at the Paris World’s Fair. Image: “Scheutz Difference Engine, 1855.” _The Illustrated London News_. 30 June 1855. In the public domain.


Roger Whitson, “The Difference Engine: 1832, 1855, 1876, 1991, 2002, 2008″

30 Mar 1856

Treaty of Paris

Illustration of the Treaty of Paris

On 30 March 1856, signing of the Treaty of Paris, ending the Crimean War. Image: Treaty of Paris, the participants (Contemporary woodcut, published in Magazin Istoric, 1856). This image is in the public domain in the United States because its copyright has expired.


Stefanie Markovits, "On the Crimean War and the Charge of the Light Brigade"


"Les Miserables" is Published

Published in 1862 by the famous author and poet Victor Hugo, Les Miserables (translated to The Miserable Ones) is said to be one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. Although the characters in Hugo's story are fictional, he sets the story during real events of Paris during the early 1800s. Readers get a close glimpse at the poverty and anguish of the lower class and learn of the tense political climate during that time.

Les Miserables is also one of the longest novels ever written. According to, there are about 1,500 pages in English editions and 1,900 pages in French versions. The novel consists of five volumes, each of which are divided into several books and subdivided into chapters, totaling 48 books and 365 chapters. also reports that over a quarter of the book is dedicated to discussions of morality having nothing to do with the novel's plot. Despite being a long read, Les Miserables is one of the most successful and timeless stories of the Romantic era.

The plot of Les Miserables follows ex-prisoner Jean Valjean on his path to redemption and is well known today for its musical and film adaptationsThroughout the story, the narrator follows Valjean on his journey to evade the law while caring for an orphaned girl named Cosette. Themes present in this epic are religion, poverty, freedom, and young love.

After serving a 19-year prison sentence and suffering life as a poor ex-convict, Valjean violates his parole and assumes a new identity, becoming mayor of a small French town where he collects a large sum of money and lives piously for many years. After crossing paths with an impoverished woman and a suspicious inspector, Valjean rescues the woman's young daughter from her abusive caretakers and flees to Paris. 

As an adult, Cosette falls in love with a young man named Marius, who happens to be an instrumental part of the 1832 June Rebellion of Paris. Upon discovering Cosette and Marius' affections, Valjean risks his life to save Marius in battle while ousting himself to the suspicious inspector Javert. In the end, Valjean is able to save Marius from the carnage and escape the punishment of Javert. Jean Valjean later dies peacefully in the grace of God, knowing that he has lived a good life.

Les Miserables Book Cover
30 Nov 1900

Death of Wilde

photo of Wilde30 November 1900 was the day Oscar Wilde died (in the Latin Quarter, Paris). Image: Photograph of Oscar Wilde. This image is in the public domain in the United States because its copyright has expired.


Ellen Crowell, “Oscar Wilde’s Tomb: Silence and the Aesthetics of Queer Memorial”

Related Articles

Andrew Elfenbein, “On the Trials of Oscar Wilde: Myths and Realities”

Jun 1912

Tomb of Wilde installation

Wilde TombOn June 1912, the Tomb of Oscar Wilde, Jacob Epstein’s limestone funerary monument at Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, was installed. Image: Detail, The Tomb of Oscar Wilde, c. 1912. Photograph by E.O. Hoppe, courtesy of the University of Reading.


Ellen Crowell, “Oscar Wilde’s Tomb: Silence and the Aesthetics of Queer Memorial”