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Revolutionary Paris

Episode 2 of 3

Series exploring the sanitary history of cities. Dan Snow sniffs out the French revolution to explore how Paris was once buried in an inescapable stench.

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. 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.

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

1 hour

Last on

Thu 30 Aug 2018 23:00


Role Contributor
Presenter Dan Snow
Executive Producer Eamon Hardy
Series Producer Sam Starbuck