Bread, Equality, and the French Revolution

Oct 30 / Ellie Louis
Welcome to a week dedicated to discovering the baguette, an iconic symbol of French culture. This week, we will delve into the history and cultural significance of bread in France. But before we savor the crispy crust of the baguette, let me take you on a journey back to the time of the French Revolution, with a look at Marie Antoinette and her famous phrase, "Let them eat cake!"
At the heart of this revolution was a fundamental idea: equality. The notion that every citizen should be treated equally, regardless of their birth, wealth, or social class. This concept of equality also extended to the realm of food, and in particular, bread.For centuries, bread was a staple food for the French people.

However, before the Revolution, there existed an unequal distribution system, where the wealthy had access to finer and higher-quality bread varieties, while the poor had to make do with lower-quality bread.

Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France at the time, is often associated with the phrase "Let them eat cake!" This is a famous quote, but it's important to note that its origin is disputed. The quote is attributed to Marie Antoinette, insinuating that she suggested that the poor who lacked bread should eat cake, a more luxurious bread variety.

Regardless of its origin, this quote has become a symbol of the aristocracy's insensitivity to the people's suffering.In 1793, the French Revolution marked a significant turning point in the history of bread in France.

The Law of the General Maximum, adopted during this period, fixed the price of bread and ensured equal access for all citizens. Everyone could now purchase bread at an affordable price, putting an end to class distinctions.

This change left a profound mark on French culture, emphasizing the connection between bread, equality, and the Revolution. The baguette that we cherish today is a symbol of this restored equality, becoming the bread of choice for all French citizens.

Throughout this week, we will further explore this fascinating history and the cultural importance of bread in France. Stay tuned for our upcoming articles!

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