Sunday, November 20, 2011

Filthy 18th Century Paris


Be transported back to the streets of Châtelet in the centre of Paris in the infamous steamy summer of 1788. The street is literally an open sewer and rubbish dump. The smells of rotting flesh, vegetables, fish and cheese are overpowering. Watch out though, a chamber pot may be emptied on to you from an open window above!

Just 200 years ago, Paris was famously one of the foulest and smelliest cities in Europe. In this programme historian Dan Snow sniffs out the rotten story of the French revolution.

Stunning CGI reveals the stinking streets where ordinary people slaved in toxic industries and suffered grotesque poverty and disease. Dan immerses himself in their world, visiting a perfumer to recreate the stench of the 18th century city - Pong de Paris. He has a go at one of the worst jobs in history - tanning leather by 18th century methods using dog excrement and urine - to make exquisite luxury goods that only the filthy rich could afford.

Marie Antoinette

Get a courtier's eye view of Marie Antoinette in her boudoir at the Palace of Versailles as you watch her perform her toilette. The heady scent of Coronation Water, created especially for her by her personal perfumer Louis Fargeon, fills your nose and hides the stench of the filthy rich.

He gets a rare glimpse of the private rooms of infamous Queen Marie Antoinette at the glittering palace of Versailles and reveals some surprising facts about the royal court. Plus he comes face to face with the ultimate killing machine - the gruesome guillotine. Dan finds out what happened to the thousands of bodies that overflowed in the cemeteries of Paris during The Terror.


Dan has a go at the worst job in 18th century Paris. Now you can see and smell how bad this exhausting and stinking trade really was. As a tanner in revolutionary Paris you work from dawn until dusk heaving the hides into pits of lime, bating them with dog dung and scraping off the layers of fat and hair.



Dan discovers how monumental filth and injustice drove Parisians to a bloody revolution which would transform their city and give birth to a new republic.

Filthy Cities Paris

Filthy Cities Paris from baron haussmann on Vimeo.

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