Page images

been married for several years. His wife, Marie Antoinette, was but fourteen when she came to Paris as a bride, and an accident which occurred during the wedding festivities

. seems a mournful prophecy of the troubled days to come.

During a féte in the Place Louis XV the fireworks set ablaze some scaffoldings around an unfinished building. A panic seized the crowd. It rushed headlong into the rue Royale in such a passion of terror that the narrow street was swiftly filled with a mass of people fighting their way over the bleeding, dying bodies of those who had reached the exit first, and, by chance, had fallen.

Again the royal family preferred Versailles to Paris, but the court often came to town both to give and receive entertainment, and public festivities were not infrequent. When their second son was born, the City of Paris gave a dinner at the Hotel de Ville in honor of the event. As seems frequently to have happened at these large dinners at the City Hall not everything went smoothly. The hosts bent their whole energies upon serving the king promptly, so that when he had finished' his dinner the guests at the other tables had had nothing but butter and radishes. In spite of their hunger, however, they were forced to rise and leave when the king rose.

The public works of Louis’ reign were not many. The .chief was the building of a new wall, not demolished until 1860, which protected several of the -outlying suburbs. At each of its gates was a pavilion, several of which are still

' standing, which served as an office for the collectors of the . octroi, a tax levied even now upon all food brought into the

city. As anything to do with taxes was obnoxious to the people this construction has been thus described:

“Le mm‘ murant Paris rend Paris murmura-nt,” which may be inadequately translated, “The wall walling Paris makes Paris wail.”

The over-florid architecture of Louis XV’s reign showed signs of betterment under the younger Louis through the

[ocr errors]

Exchange established near the Hotel de Soissons in the time of ]...a.\'y._',(i'7.2o) (From an old print) -.,'- "

[graphic][graphic][ocr errors]

Church of St. Medard in whose churchyard miracles were said to have been performed

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][ocr errors]

Military School and Field of Mars with the Dome of the Invalides at the left

(From an engraving of 1830)


Place de la Concorde; Obelisk of Luxor; Ministry of Marine at right and Clubat left of the rue Royale, through which is seen the church of the MadeleineThe upper part of the bridge was built of stones from the Bastille

« PreviousContinue »