The French Revolution began in 1789 and ended with the ascension of Napoleon Bonaparte in the late 1790s. It was a turning point in contemporary European history. French people destroyed and rebuilt their nation’s governmental system during this time. This puts ancient structures like the feudal system and absolute monarchy in jeopardy.

Widespread discontent with the French monarchy and King Louis XVI’s disastrous economic policies—both of which were carried out by guillotine, as did his wife Marie Antoinette—were the root causes of the revolution. The French Revolution was unsuccessful in achieving its objectives and, at times, devolved into bloodshed.

Explore the French Revolution timeline

Now, you must wonder how knowing about the French Revolution can benefit you as a French language learner. Well! Knowing history can help you expand your horizons about French-speaking countries and their norms. It is significant to take an interest in French history to improve your knowledge.

Background of the French Revolution

The years 1789–1794 saw the French Revolution. Even though King Louis XVI required more money, he could not acquire additional revenue when he called a gathering of the Estates General. Rather, this evolved into a protest against the French government.

On July 14, 1789, the Parisian populace stormed the Bastille fortress. They were angry with their King and Government (a jail), hungry for poor harvests, and frustrated with their living conditions. This proved more symbolic than anything else since just four or five detainees were found.

In October 1789, King Louis and his family moved from Versailles, the Royal Palace, to Paris. He tried to escape in 1791 but was caught and made to sign a new form of Government. From October 1791 to September 1792, a “legislative assembly” presided over the realm in lieu of the King until the “National Convention” took over. The King was quickly put in jail after the French Republic was proclaimed.

It grew more extreme and violent over time. Following the assassination of King Louis XVI on January 21, 1793, 1,400 individuals who were thought to be Republic foes were put to death in Paris.

Violence in French Revolution

The French Revolution Timeline and Important Events

The timeline of the French Revolution is given as follows:

February 1787Charles-Alexandre de Calonne convenes aristocrats and bourgeoisie to address France’s financial deficit. Calonne proposes taxing the affluent, but the measure is rejected.
May 5, 1789Estates-General, representing the First, Second, and Third Estates, convenes in Versailles.
June 17, 1789Deputies of the Third Estate declare themselves the National Assembly due to a disagreement over votes.
June 20, 1789National Assembly takes over the king’s tennis court, swearing to provide France with a new constitution (Tennis Court Oath).
July 9, 1789National Constituent Assembly is formed, persuaded by King Louis XVI to join the other two estates.
July 14, 1789A crowd seizes the Bastille jail, a symbol of royal tyranny, during the Great Fear.
Aug 26–Oct 6, 1789Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen presented by the National Constituent Assembly.
April 20, 1792Austria faces conflict with France, initiating the French Revolutionary Wars.
Aug 10, 1792Insurgents assault the royal Paris home and detain Louis XVI.
Sept 20-21, 1792The National Convention convenes, declaring a republic and abolishing the monarchy.
Jan 21, 1793Louis XVI is imprisoned for treason.
Aug 22, 1795A new constitution establishes the bicameral legislature in France.
Nov 9, 1799Napoleon Bonaparte overthrows the Directory, appointing himself France’s first consul; later becomes emperor.
Historical French army

While exploring the books to learn French, you will come across different history books. These books contain details about every event involved in the French Revolution. You can read these books to boost your French vocabulary and fluency.

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Frequently asked questions

What were the outcomes of the French Revolution?

The French Revolution led to the abolition of the absolute monarchy, the establishment of a republic, and significant social and political changes in France. It also had a profound impact on the course of European history.

How did the French Revolution impact France and the rest of the world?

The French Revolution had a lasting impact on France, leading to the rise of democracy, the end of feudalism, and the spread of revolutionary ideas. It also inspired revolutionary movements in other countries and contributed to the rise of nationalism and liberalism in Europe.

Who were some of the key figures of the French Revolution?

Some key figures of the French Revolution include Maximilien Robespierre, Georges Danton, Jean-Paul Marat, Louis XVI, and Marie Antoinette.


The French Revolution timeline marks a crucial period in French and world history, spanning from 1789 to 1799. This wild decade witnessed a series of transformative events, including the overthrow of the monarchy, the establishment of a republic, and the Reign of Terror. The French Revolution profoundly impacted France, leading to significant social, political, and cultural changes.

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