• The Parisian is to the French what the Athenian was to the Greeks: no one sleeps better than he, no one is more openly frivolous and idle, no one appears more heedless. But this is misleading. He is given to every kind of listlessness, but when there is glory to be won he may be inspired with every kind of fury. Give him a pike and he will enact the tenth of August, a musket and you have Austerlitz. He was the springboard of Napoleon and the mainstay of Danton. At the cry of "la patrie" he enrols, and at the call of liberty he tears up the pavements. Beware of him!

    Victor Hugo (1980). “Les misérables”, Viking Pr