What happens when you starve your masses, lock them up, ignore them, or even worse, patronise them? They kind off loose their cool, storm the nearest prison, free the inhouse talent and learn to say "off with their heads!" That's exactly what the Parisian ordinaire figured out for himself - with a little philosophical and theoretical help from resident brains. Post storming the Bastille, the hoi polloi loaded a few hundred fatcats into tumbrils and sent them off to the nearest guillotine for a quick cut and shave.
When heads begin to roll, its time to up and out and that exactly what the king and his merry men tried to do. At least, some did and some didn't. Louis XVI and the one and only Marie Antoinette got their comeuppance, or as some would say, finally lost their heads together. Minus a royal head, France became a republic. Whether the French got what they deserved, ours not to say, but at least there were many more heads to roll the next time round.
Still, the French had so much fun, they decided to make it an annual event (the party, not the tantrums). Once rollin' heads became passe, it was okay to bring out the hardware, flex a few military muscles and flash some fireworks. Those that can, do. Those that can't hang around the Left Bank, the Right Bank, under the Eiffel Tower, around the Champs Elysees and wherever there's some space left to light up a gauloise and drink some champagne. Vive la revolution!