Paris in the 18th century was one of the world’s leading centers of culture, philosophy, and power, but detailed specific records from this era can be somewhat sparse. However, we can outline some general events and trends from around 1740 that would have had a major impact on the city:
The Age of Enlightenment: The 1740s was a time of intellectual ferment in Paris, which was a hub of Enlightenment thought. Philosophers and writers such as Voltaire and Montesquieu were producing works that challenged established authority and explored ideas about human rights, government, and society. This intellectual movement would have influenced all aspects of life in Paris, from its culture to its politics.
War of Austrian Succession: Although this war did not take place directly within Paris, the War of Austrian Succession began in 1740 and involved most of the powers of Europe, including France. These events could have led to shifts in political power, economic stability, and even population changes in Paris due to the deployment and eventual return of soldiers.
Artistic Trends: This was the era of Rococo art in Paris, characterized by an emphasis on curving forms, detailed ornamentation, and lighter colors. In 1740, the painter François Boucher, a leading figure in the Rococo style, became a member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris.
Expansion of the city: Paris was growing rapidly during the 18th century, and the years around 1740 were no exception. This growth led to urban development projects, expansion of the city’s boundaries, and the creation of new neighborhoods.
The Construction of the École Militaire: Although the exact building started in 1751, plans and preparations for this significant building might have started around 1740. The École Militaire is a vast complex of buildings housing various military training facilities located on the Champ de Mars in Paris.