La Maison de Robespierre in Arras, France

A prominent figure of the French Revolution, Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre was born in Arras on May 6, 1758, into a small family of the judicial nobility. Orphaned at an early age, he then studied at the Oratorian college in the capital of Artois and later at the Lycée Louis-Le-Grand in Paris.

Deeply influenced by the ideas of Rousseau, he returned to Arras in 1781 where he lived until 1789 while practicing as a lawyer. Despite the Revolution’s allegedly high-minded ideals, Robespierre and his co-conspirators are best-remembered for the horrendous bloodshed that occurred afterwords. La Terreur, of the Reign of Terror, saw the mass executions of thousands of French citizens accused of being counter-revolutionaries.

Today, the controversial figure’s home in Arras still stands. The small museum inside contains relatively little information about the darker exploits of its former inhabitant, but is still worth a visit if in the area.

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