In the 15th and 16th centuries, the average person in
France ate somewhere between 1.5 and
2.5 pounds of bread per day. The rich also enjoyed meat and another two
liters of wine each day. But for the poor, bread constituted the majority of
their diet. So when wheat was scarce, the French risked starvation.
In Paris, this risk was most acute during a siege.
Paris has endured numerous sieges throughout its long
history. The Vikings besieged the city in 845. In 1429, it was Charles VII and
Joan of Arc, and in 1870, the Prussians. During these times of austerity,
Parisians resorted to eating everything from military horses to street
rats and zoo animals. And during one particularly problematic siege, they
even ate bread made from human bones.