On the night of the 20/21st June 1791, King Louis XVI attempted to flee in an event that was later named the flight to Varennes. By Marisa Linton, published 9th February 2017. They planned to escape to Austria and then recapture the French crown through foreign assistance. Article. [11], Due to the cumulative effect of slow progression, time miscalculations, lack of secrecy, and the need to repair broken coach traces,[12] the royal family was thwarted in its escape attempt after leaving Paris. But after Varennes, the mistrust built up by his long record of apparent ambivalence burst out into widespread demands from the populace of the capital and a number of radical publicists for the king to be dethroned.” Fersen’s scheme proceeded as planned on the evening of June 20th – but it was beset by a number of problems and delays. Princess Marie-Thérèse’s account of the flight to Varennes (1791) Due to this, Louis XVI was recognized the next da… While the Assembly had every intention of creating a limited or constitutional monarchy, after June 1791, such an idea became increasingly suspect. Students may jump on the idea of the king being a ‘traitor’ it’s important at this point to remind … The royal Flight to Varennes (French: Fuite à Varennes) during the night of 20–21 June 1791 was a significant episode in the French Revolution in which King Louis XVI of France, his queen Marie Antoinette, and their immediate family unsuccessfully attempted to escape from Paris in order to initiate a counter-revolution at the head of loyal troops under royalist officers concentrated at Montmédy near the frontier. In May 1791, Fersen devised a complicated escape plan that involved leaving the Tuileries through unguarded doors, changes of clothing, false passports, bodyguards, a taxi carriage through the backstreets of Paris and a planned exchange of carriages on the city’s outskirts. [8], The long-term political objectives of the royal couple and their closest advisors remain unclear. The Flight to Varennes and its Consequences. The Royals felt like virtual prisoners in Paris- if prisoners were allowed to live in grand Palaces and eat the best food. Why was the flight to Varennes important? Since then, provocative writings inciting violence against me and my family have been published, which have remained unpunished. This event was a turning point in the revolution because it exposed the untrustworthiness of the king and the unworkability of the newly devised constitution. He appeared twice, on 11 and 23 December, before the National Convention. More Information . the king disapproved the ccc marie-antoinette advised against the constitutional monarchy breteuil and calonne advised to leave and come back with austrian forces to crush the revolution His Majesty was treated, as Pétion noted, like nothing had happened: “After a few minutes, we moved [to] the king’s apartments. “The flight to Varennes opened up the second great schism of the revolution. This would have involved the splitting up of the royal family, however, thus Louis and Marie-Antoinette decided on the use of a heavy and conspicuous coach drawn by six horses. Home. [2], The king's flight was traumatic for France, inciting reactions ranging from anxiety to violence and panic. By the summer of 1791 the royal family had been living in the Tuileries in the heart of Paris for almost two years. Flight to Varennes: Featured in Macworld - one of the best history sites on the web. The royal family had been brought to Paris after the events of the 5 th October 1789 when a mob stormed the Versailles Palace. The question of what to do with the king after Varennes widened the gulf between political moderates and radical republicans. Bookstore. "France: History". Flight to Varennes. In May 1790, he signed a secret deal with the crown, agreeing to work for the king’s benefit in the National Constituent Assembly. After they returned, the National Constituent Assembly agreed that the king could be restored to power if he agreed to the constitution. Other Sellers on Amazon. SpaceX’s first-ever manned space flight with two NASA astronauts on Wednesday is a major milestone for Elon Musk’s private spacecraft company … Appalled by the growing radicalism of the revolution, particularly its attempts to regulate and control the church, Louis XVI agreed to abscond from the city. This incident only confirmed what most already suspected: that the king and his family were virtual prisoners in Paris. Article. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Esmein, Jean Paul Hippolyte Emmanuel Adhémar (1911). Meanwhile, the king’s coach proceeded on its journey and reached Sainte-Menehould, around 50 miles (80 kilometres) from Montmedy. In November, proof of Louis XVI's secret dealings with the deceased revolutionary politician, Mirabeau, and of his counterrevolutionary intrigues with foreigners was found in a secret iron chest, the armoire de fer, in the Tuileries. (Louis XVI) * shows Louis had failed to understand the popularity of the changes which had taken With the dauphin's governess, the Marquise de Tourzel, taking on the role of a Russian baroness, the queen and the king's sister Madame Élisabeth playing the roles of governess and nurse respectively, the king a valet, and the royal children her daughters, the royal family made their escape leaving the Tuileries Palace at about midnight. The Royals felt like virtual prisoners in Paris- if prisoners were allowed to live in grand Palaces and eat the best food. Seeking to avoid this, the king and his family planned to leave Paris on April 18th and spend Easter at their summer house at Saint-Cloud. In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). At Châlons townspeople reportedly greeted and applauded the royal party. This French Revolution site contains articles, sources and perspectives on events in France between 1781 and 1795. If any king could have coped with the French Revolution it was not Louis XVI. Significant civil and political events by year, Richard Cavendish, page 8, "History Today", June 2016, Richard Cavendish, p. 8, "History Today", June 2016, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814, Déclaration de Louis XVI à tous les Français, à sa sortie de Paris, The Flight to Varennes • Memoir by the Duchesse d'Angoulême, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, François Alexandre Frédéric, duc de la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau, Alexandre-Théodore-Victor, comte de Lameth, Louis Michel le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, List of people associated with the French Revolution, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Flight_to_Varennes&oldid=998701359, Articles needing additional references from May 2019, All articles needing additional references, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 January 2021, at 16:58. A contingent of National Guard was immediately dispatched in pursuit of the royal family. On the night of 20th June 1791, the royal family fled the Tuileries Palace dressed as servants with their servants dressed as nobles. what actually happened on the night of the flight to Varennes? $32.75 + Free Shipping. They were located and detained the following day and returned to the capital. It contains 231,429 words in 354 pages and was updated on December 2nd 2020. The Flight to Varennes, or the royal family’s unsuccessful escape from Paris during the night of June 20-21, 1791, undermined the credibility of the king as a constitutional monarch and eventually led to the escalation of the crisis and the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The flight to Varennes was a turning point in the French Revolution because it exposed the untrustworthiness of the king and the unworkability of the newly implemented constitution. While he distrusted Mirabeau, the king seemed to accept his advice about retreating from Paris. [9], Prodded by the queen, Louis committed himself and his family to a disastrous attempt of escape from the capital to the eastern frontier on 21 June 1791. By Marisa Linton, published 9th February 2017. A number of factors caused Louis XVI to lose whatever faith he had in the revolution. [11], Whether De Bouillé's army would have been numerous or reliable enough to change the direction of the revolution and preserve the monarchy can never be known.[14][15]. Students may jump on the idea of the king being a ‘traitor’ it’s important at this point to remind … Why Did the King Make the Flight to Varennes In: Historical Events Submitted By hkay17 Words 586 Pages 3. The king's failed escape attempt alarmed many other European monarchs, who feared that the revolutionary fervor would spread to their countries and result in instability outside France. What was the significance of the flight to Varennes? The king and his family were arrested at Varennes and returned to Paris. While stopped there they were identified by the local postmaster, Jean-Baptiste Drouet who, according to legend, recognised the king from his portrait on a coin or assignat. The realization that the king had effectually repudiated the revolutionary reforms made up to that point came as a shock to people who had seen him as a well-intentioned monarch who governed as a manifestation of God's will. [13] Seven detachments of cavalry posted along the intended route had been withdrawn or neutralized by suspicious crowds before the large and slow moving vehicle being used by the royal party had reached them. The royal family was confined to the Tuileries Palace. during his flight from Paris to Montmédy was one of the most important events in the history of the French Revolution, and probably one of the most important in the history of France. A note left by Louis XVI after fleeing Paris (1791) Marie Antoinette’s close friend Fersen borrowed large sums of money to aid their escape. URL: https://alphahistory.com/frenchrevolution/flight-to-varennes/ Why did the flight to Varennes provoke such a strong reaction? Add. [17] This was the event that sounded the death knell for the monarch.[18]. [1] Much was due to the king's indecision; he repeatedly postponed the schedule, allowing small problems to become much larger. French Revolution memory quiz – events 1789-91, French Revolution memory quiz – events 1792-95, French Revolution memory quiz – events to 1788, French Revolution memory quiz – terms (I), French Revolution memory quiz – terms (II), French Revolution memory quiz – terms (III), Princess Marie-Thérèse’s account of the flight to Varennes (1791), A note left by Louis XVI after fleeing Paris (1791), Louis XVI on his motives for the flight to Varennes (1791), De Bouille on his role in the flight to Varennes (1791), The Assembly responds to the flight to Varennes (1791), Henri Grégoire on the flight to Varennes (1791). Date published: September 30, 2019 The king's brothers and the principal Royalists strongly advised the king to leave Paris, the center of the storm, and join the émigrés and the armies they were raising, so as to return to his capital with their aid and dictate terms instead of having them forced upon him. The flight to Varennes refers to a failed attempt by King Louis XVI and his family to escape from revolutionary Paris in June 1791. Citation information The arrest of Louis XVI. Henceforth, the king seems to have become emotionally paralyzed, leaving most important decisions to the politically untrained queen. 4. Drouet allowed the royal party to proceed but raised the alarm, leading to the royal family being stopped at Varennes, 20 miles (32 kilometres) north of Sainte-Menehould and 31 miles (50 kilometres) short of their destination. The king's brother also fled on the same night, by a different route. Finally, Jean-Baptiste Drouet, the postmaster of Sainte-Menehould, recognized the king from his portrait printed on an assignat in his possession. Flight to Varennes: Fuite à Varennes. A member of the Assembly had to in fact protect Marie Antoinette from the crowds. It seemed as if the king had merely returned from a hunting expedition, and everyone was assisting him with his toilet. From the autumn of 1791 on, the king tied his hopes of political salvation to the dubious prospects of foreign intervention. The relocation seemed to have emotionally paralyzed the king, which left many important decisions to the politically untrained queen. 3. Back in Paris, the king’s escape was discovered around the time he was passing Châlons. the royals left the tuileries at midnight and were arrested in Varennes and returned to Paris where they were met with silent, sullen crowds of people. Mirabeau’s political vision for France, however, was fundamentally conservative. He immediately resumed his state of representation. Authors: Jennifer Llewellyn, Steve Thompson Show short video clip about the Flight to Varennes. He instead secretly committed himself to a policy of covert counter-revolution. The royal flight to Varennes took place on June 20th, 1791. This event was a turning point in the revolution because it exposed the untrustworthiness of the king and the unworkability of the newly devised constitution. - The King's lack of sincerity had become increasingly obvious - Increased fears of a royalist, foreign intervention ... How important was Louis personally for the rise of Robespierre and the Jacobins? the apprehension of Louis XVI at Varennes. Even at full speed, such a journey would take an entire day and require around 20 stops for fresh horses. Some went further and insisted the king be put on trial for treason against the constitution. It was now no longer possible to pretend that the reforms of the French Revolution had been made with the free consent of the king. The royal family was returned to Paris and reinstalled at the Tuileries Palace, this time under a more visible guard. He was 19 when he succeeded his grandfather, Louis XV, in 1774. The Flight to Varennes. While the Assembly had every intention of creating a limited or constitutional monarchy, after June 1791, such an idea became increasingly suspect. Date accessed: January 14, 2021 Upon hearing this, Parisian radicals stormed the Tuileries Palace on 10 August 1792. The king’s failed attempt to escape Paris was dubbed the flight to Varennes (something of a misnomer given the real objective of his flight was Montmedy). The flight to Varennes refers to the royal family's failed attempt to escape Paris in June 1791. Why Did The King Make The Flight To Varennes? He also mistakenly believed that he enjoyed particular favor with the peasantry and other commoners. [7] The Flight to Varennes. The king was appalled by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and its implications for the church in France. By early 1791, Mirabeau was advising Louis to relocate to Rouen or some other provincial capital; once there he could rally support, appeal to the people and lead a national revolution, free of the dark influences in Paris. Few people in France had seen the king personally but his image was printed on the currency. Their failed adventure triggered a rush of crude propaganda that ridiculed the royals and their fumbling escape attempt. There had been hardly any republicanism in 1789, and what there was had abated once the king was back in Paris and accepting all the Assembly sent to him. Although the King reluctantly accepted the new constitution (1791), he could not accept all the reforms, particularly those which hurt the Church. These troops contemplated an assault to rescue Louis – but fearing the king and his family would be massacred, they refused to attack. If any king could have coped with the French Revolution it was not Louis XVI. Flight to Varennes. The outbreak of the war with Austria in April 1792 and the publication of a manifesto by the Prussian commander, Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, threatened the destruction of Paris if the safety of the royal family was again endangered. what was the response of the people of france. At the same time, he encouraged the Girondin faction in the Legislative Assembly in their policy of war with Austria, in the expectation that a French military disaster would pave the way for the restoration of his royal authority. Satirical print reading “ King Janus, or the man with two faces,” illustrating the shift in public opinion of Louis XVI after his flight to Varennes, 1791-1792 (Stanford University Libraries) (), and a cartoon of the king wearing a revolutionary Phrygian cap and pretending to support the revolution, while secretly planning to launch a resistance against it, 1792 (). Word of the royal flight quickly spread around the city, prompting an angry reaction. Discuss how different interest groups in France would respond on his return – what options were open to the Assembly? Add to My HA. This would mean receiving communion from a constitutional priest. The plan, hatched by Count Axel von Fersen and supported by Marie Antoinette, was to travel by coach to Montmedy, a fortress near the German border garrisoned by royalist troops. Email; Share; Tweet; Marisa Linton takes us on a coach journey across France. It was further delayed near the city gates by a wedding party. All these delays put then at least 90 minutes behind schedule. The royal family then made plans to escape. pp. 'The King does not think it would be possible to govern so large and important a kingdom as France by the means esablished by the National Assembly such as they exist at present'. The escape failed due to a series of misadventures, delays, misinterpretations and poor judgments. Richard Cavendish | Published in History Today Volume 66 Issue 6 June 2016. Copyright: The content on this page may not be republished without our express permission. A minor controversy arose in April when the king learned he would be expected to attend a public Easter Mass at Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, also at the Louvre. This incident was a turning point after which popular hostility towards the French monarchy as an institution, as well as towards the king and queen as individuals, became much more pronounced. Whatever public affection the king had enjoyed in early 1791 was shattered by the events of June 20th and 21st. Add. Richard Cavendish | Published in History Today Volume 66 Issue 6 June 2016. Prompted by Marie Antoinette, Louis rejected the advice of the moderate constitutionalists, led by Antoine Barnave, to fully implement the Constitution of 1791, which he had sworn to maintain. The plan to flee Paris in June 1791 was largely concocted by Alex von Fersen, a Swedish aristocrat, military leader and diplomat. Extract The arrest of Louis XVI. His working alliance with the National Constituent Assembly and his acceptance of the Constitution of 1791 were exposed as fraudulent. For this religious man, the Civil Constitution of the Clergy was the last straw. A historian’s view: 'The King does not think it would be possible to govern so large and important a kingdom as France by the means esablished by the National Assembly such as they exist at present'. Convicted, Louis was sent to the guillotine on 21 January 1793. The Flight to Varennes, June 20, 1791: The Flight to Varennes served as a major journee because it showed the National Assembly as well as the French people, that Louis XVI could no longer be trusted. [5] At Montmédy General François Claude de Bouillé, the marquis de Bouillé, had concentrated a force of 10,000 regulars of the old royal army who were considered to still be loyal to the monarchy. Add to Cart. The escape was planned over the preceding month by Count Axel von Fersen, a Swedish general and favourite of Marie Antoinette, who planned to sneak the royal family out of Paris to the loyalist stronghold at Montmedy, in north-eastern France. Encyclopædia Britannica. He was 19 when he succeeded his grandfather, Louis XV, in 1774. Flight to Varennes: Fuite à Varennes The King gradually lost more and more power over the two following years. The royal Flight to Varennes (French: Fuite à Varennes) during the night of 20–21 June 1791 was a significant episode in the French Revolution in which King Louis XVI of France, his queen Marie Antoinette, and their immediate family unsuccessfully attempted to escape from Paris in order to initiate a counter-revolution at the head of loyal troops under royalist officers concentrated at Montmédy near the frontier. Search. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. De Bouille on his role in the flight to Varennes (1791) Title: “The flight to Varennes” When the royal family finally returned under guard to Paris, the revolutionary crowd met the royal carriage with uncharacteristic silence and consequently, complete shock rippled throughout the crowd at the sight of their king. At the Estates-General two years earlier, Mirabeau had seemed an arch-radical, defiantly proclaiming that the National Assembly would only disperse at the point of bayonets. The flight to Varennes describes the royal family’s failed attempt to escape their house arrest in Paris in June 1791. 801–929. On 28 February 1791, while the Marquis de Lafayette was handling a conflict in Vincennes, hundreds of royalists came to the Tuileries to demonstrate in support of the royal family, only to be expelled from the palace by National Guards. Henri Grégoire on the flight to Varennes (1791) Whatever public affection the king had enjoyed in early 1791 was shattered by the events of June 20th and 21st. The Flight to Varennes served as a major journee because it showed the National Assembly as well as the French people, that Louis XVI could no longer be trusted. Fersen, a regular visitor to France from the late 1770s, had become a favourite of Marie Antoinette. Instead, he regularly attended Mass at a small chapel in the Louvre, where the service was performed by refractory or non-juring priests. Outside Paris, the king and his family would meet a platoon of Hussars and make their way to Montmedy, a fortress in north-eastern France manned by loyal soldiers. Prodded by the queen, Louis committed himself and his family to a disastrous attempt of escape from the capital to the easter… The Constitution of 1791, which was in the throes of being finalised when the king absconded, was now a lame duck. On the way back, they were jeered and insulted by the people as never before. They escaped only as far as the small town of Varennes-en-Argonne, where they were arrested after havi… The king’s escape was delayed by a nighttime visit from the Marquis de Lafayette and Jean-Sylvain Bailly, who kept him talking longer than expected. A detailed document entitled Declaration to the French People prepared by Louis for presentation to the National Assembly and left behind in the Tuileries indicates that his personal goal was a return to the concessions and compromises contained in the declaration of the Third Estate on 23 June 1789, immediately prior to the outbreak of violence in Paris and the storming of the Bastille. Marie Antoinette left the Tuileries as planned but spent several minutes wandering lost in the streets outside, before eventually locating her carriage. While the National Assembly took no immediate action, radicals demanded the abolition of the monarchy and the formation of a republic. The flight to Varennes refers to the royal family's failed attempt to escape Paris in June 1791. [4], The intended goal of the unsuccessful flight was to provide the king with greater freedom of action and personal security than was possible in Paris. It is often said that Fersen and the queen were lovers, however, evidence for this is circumstantial. Republicanism quickly evolved from being merely a subject of coffeehouse debate to the dominant ideal of revolutionary leaders.[3]. Once underway, the king’s entourage was forced to take a longer route out of Paris than originally planned. Many were stunned not just by the king’s attempt to flee – but how the National Constituent Assembly responded to it. Furthermore, he overestimated popular support for the traditional monarchy, mistakenly believing only Parisian radicals supported the revolution and that the populace as a whole opposed it. Everyone was aware that foreign intervention was imminent. Exhibits. The Assembly had passed the Civil Constitution in July 1790 but Louis delayed signing it until December, hoping for a public outcry or an intercession from the Vatican. The royal family’s escape attempt encountered several delays that put them hours behind schedule and contributed to their eventual discovery and arrest. The flight to Varennes, though minor in itself, signed the death warrant for bourgeois dreams of a French constitutional monarchy. He successfully escaped, and spent the French revolution in exile, later returning to be crowned King Louis XVIII. The distance between Paris and Montmedy was around 200 miles (325 kilometres). The court expectation was that "numerous faithful subjects of all classes" would then rally to demand the restoration of the rights of the throne and that order would be restored without the need for civil war or foreign invasion. During the night of 20–21 June 1791, French King Louis XVI (1754 – 1793), his wife, Marie-Antoinette (1755 – 1793), their children, Louis-Charles (1785 – 1795), the dauphin, or heir apparent, and his sister Marie-Thérèse (1778 – 1851), the king’s sister Élisabeth of France (1764 – 1794) attempted to escape France. In seeing the king, in observing him closely, it was impossible to guess that something momentous had just happened. As the French citizens were in the midst of terror and destruction of the Revolution, King Louis XVI attempted to flee Paris to Belgian frontiers almost succeed, but fortunately he was stopped just miles away from the frontier. Townspeople reportedly greeted and applauded the royal flight to Varennes revolution would into. 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