The era in question was a key point in the Age of Enlightenment, during which accepted dogma was replaced by reason and rational thought. The French Revolution – here some fifty years away – is often seen as the end point of the era.
The Marquis de Sade was born in Paris in 1740. A notorious aristocrat, libertine, revolutionary and writer, his work is characterised by eroticism, pornography, violence, criminality and blasphemy against the Catholic Church.
Louis de Saint-Just (1767-1794) was a French military leader and revolutionary closely linked to Maxmilien Robespierre. In 1789 he wrote a licentious poem critical of the monarchy and the Catholic Church.
The French Revolution (1789-1799) was a mass uprising against the French monarchy. Privilege as accorded by birth, status and religion was finally eroded through mass sustained assaults by the people. The deposed monarchy was replaced by a democratic republic. It was an event that arguably gave birth to the modern era.
Opened in the late 18th century, the Catacombs of Paris are a maze of underground boneyards in what were formerly mining tunnels.
The Rue Saint-Honoré is an ancient Parisian street, named for a church that once occupied the site within the cloisters of Saint-Honoré.
In Greek mythology, the Furies (or Erinyes) were goddesses of vengeance and merciless punishers of all wrongdoing. With bloodied eyes and snakes for hair, Tisiphone (avenger of murder), Megaera (the jealous) and Alecto (anger) would curse their victims with madness.
The Bastille was a fortress prison in Paris, symbol of the power and control of the ruling aristocracy. It was stormed in July 1789, a seminal event leading to the Revolution.