1800. Napoleon had declared an amnesty for all the political refugees. In her memoirs Madame de Menerville tells a simple but very charming story of the dispossessed French nobility returning to Versailles and moving into the neighborhood of Saint-Louis.
For some time already the local businessmen had been settling to the north of Chateau, in the neighborhood of Notre Dame; and whenever the mayor of Versailles was throwing a party at the City Hall, the two groups would not mix: those living to the South of Chateau would gather in one room, those living to the north, in the other, and some of the young men who decided to go into military service could barely find their way back into the old high society.
This is the time when guillotine had come to town and was first placed at la place Dauphine (the Square of General Hoche); Marquis de Sade, who worked at the Theater of Montansier, was within a four-minute walk from it, and wrote the play, “Oxtierne or the Sorrows of Libertinage”.
Before long the guillotine was moved to another square; it had to go farther away from the center and tour some four other neighborhoods before it anchored itself at the market place of la place Notre Dame.
At that time Marquis de Sade, had four years of successful play production at his own little theater of the Charenton Psychiatric Asylum. When the unloved painless-death machine have finally found its way inside the prison walls, the author of Justine had been dead, and the wisdom he left behind could be summerised in the following quotation, “It is enough for a man to think something up, as almost immediately out of this illusion the most horrid reality is born.”