In 1789, the buildings extending from 2 to 20 boulevard Beaumarchais were a single property owned by one man: the writer Pierre Caron de Beaumarchais, whose financial affairs had turned him into one of the largest property owners in the Saint-Antoine neighborhood. In 1787, he bought some land close to the Saint-Antoine gate, just steps away from the Bastille, on which he built a sumptuous home: the “Beaumarchais Pleasure Palace.” Thus, he lived close to his theater, located on the current rue de Sévigné. The property was later destroyed in the 19th century in order to extend the Canal Saint-Martin.
In the spring of 1789, while most people lived in miserable conditions and their anger was mounting, Beaumarchais organized a sumptuous celebration in the gardens of his luxurious mansion, sponsored by the Duke of Orléans. This was an event that could have cost him greatly: at the end of April, on the other side of the neighborhood, the Titon pleasure palace, the opulent property of the wallpaper manufacturer Réveillon, was ransacked. This kind of display of luxury had become unbearable in the eyes of Parisians. Luckily, for Beaumarchais, he benefited from a positive image: at that time, he was seen as a playwright who defended freedom.