Gunfire on Rue Saint Dominique

Currently the residence of the Defense Secretary, the Hôtel de Brienne was occupied in 1788 by Louis-Marie-Athanase de Loménie, Count of Brienne, and, at this time, Secretary of State for War. He was the brother of Etienne-Charles de Loménie de Brienne, Louis XVI’s head minister. Detested by the people due to his connections with Marie-Antoinette’s very conservative entourage, he was forced to resign on August 25, 1788. With this news, a dummy in his effigy was burned on the Pont-Neuf. On August 28th, insurgents headed to the Hôtel de Brienne, which symbolized the excessive luxury of the privileged few. Several dozens of them were shot.

Portrait of Etienne Charles de Loménie de Brienne, Bishop of Toulouse

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The Champ-de-Mars, a camp to suppress the Revolution?

View of the Champ-de-Mars on July 12, 1789

July 14th represents the storming of the Bastille. And yet, a completely different type of event could have happened on this day instead: the bloody suppression of the Revolution. Starting in the month of June, several major figures in Marie-Antoinette’s entourage supported a hard line against the Revolution, which by this time, had arrived in Versailles. On July 11th, the dismissal of Necker and several other more flexible ministers seemed to announce the worst. The troops’ movements became clearer: 30,000 soldiers had gathered around Paris. Insurgents panicked: a general massacre was possible given that Marshall de Broglie, a ruthless man, commanded the troops. Several regiments set up camp on the Champ-de-Mars, arousing Parisians’ curiosity. In order to defend themselves from an impending attack, insurgents started looking for weapons: a movement that would not stop until July 14th at the Bastille!

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