The Last Public Guillotining in France – Paris Walks Guide Chris Reports

Astonishing to think there are people alive today who could have been eye-witnesses to the “event.” As an advancer for his French Revolution Virtual Tour later this week (7 pm GMT on Friday, April 9th), Paris Walks guide Chris Spence gives us a harrowing account – taken from the memoir of the famous actor, Christopher Lee, who was there, a 17-year-old schoolboy at the time – of what happened in those few minutes at Versailles that day in 1939. The telling of the tale connects us directly today, in 2021, with that last public guillotining and thus, by extension, with that world-changing episode 150 years earlier, the French Revolution, and, it goes without saying, “the reign of terror”, the mass public executions by guillotine.


“I heard the fall of the blade”

“a mass murderer”

“Christopher Lee, the famous actor”

“there it was, the machine”

“the red widow”

“the doors of the prison opened and there he was”

“everything was well organised”

“when the head landed in the basket and sneezed”

“he was invited to see ‘something educational'”

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