The years of reign of Louis XVI had been characterized by a financial crisis and food shortages. Paris had become haven to the Jacobin Club, an influential political organization, whose members created the National Constituent Assembly, demanded adoption of the Constitution, abolition of the feudal system, confiscation of the Church lands, separation of the Church from the State. On 14th of July 1789 the Jacobins seized and destroyed the previously impregnable Bastille prison.
Starting on January 21st 1793, when Louis XVI was executed on the guillotine, Paris had been engulfed in the Reign of Terror. The First Republic was established in France. All bronze monuments had been melted to make cannons, churches looted, monks murdered. During the French Revolution the authority of the military rose significantly, who played an active role in suppressing counter-revolution rebellions and uprisings. On the 9th of November 1799 the military Commander in Chief, general Napoleon Bonaparte, seized power in a military coup. France, weakened by the Revolution and wars, offered little resistance.
After crowning himself emperor, Napoleon I had given France the Napoleonic Code, a civil law reform, and started adorning Paris in style of the ancient Rome. Arc de Triomphe and the Madeleine Church were built. Famous works of art were being brought from all over the world to fill Parisian museums and libraries. By the Napoleon's decree, all old structures along the Jardin des Tuileries and Le Louvre were demolished and replaced with the beautiful rue de Rivoli. Water supply of the city was secured by the many canals dug, yet subsequently filled up, except for the Saint-Martin canal, that was laid out along the Bastille trench and preserved.
In spring of 1814, after the Russian tsar Alexander I entered Paris, Napoleon renounced the French throne for himself and his heirs and retired to his estate on the island of Elba. The restoration of the House of Bourbon took place in France. The throne was ascended by Louis XVIII, the last Bourbon king of France, but his attempts to revert back to the old regime of monarchy provoked people's unrest and allowed Napoleon to regain power. His defeat at Waterloo ultimately brought death upon him.
The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad