De Bouille on his role in the flight to Varennes (1797)


Writing in his 1797 memoir, Francois, Marquis de Bouille, explained his role in the flight to Varennes of 1791:

“In early 1791 the king wrote to me that he hoped to be able to leave Paris in March or April. I was to indicate the route he should take for Montmedy, to let him know my plan and to settle it when I present it to him.

I advised him that from Paris two routes led to the fortress: one through Reims and Stenay, which includes along the way only a few large towns, such as should be avoided; the other passes by Chalons and Ste-Menehould, Varennes, or Verdun, a fortress city which is the more dangerous because its garrison, people and municipality are odious. To avoid that problem he should take the road to Varennes.

At the same time I urged the king to ask Leopold II of Austria to arrange for a body of soldiers to march to the Luxembourg frontier, near Montmedy, to give me a pretext to assemble troops there myself. I would then be ready to provide him with support when he arrived.”