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During A Siege In 1590, Parisians Were So Desperate For Food That They Resorted To Baking Bread Made From Human Bones

So, it makes sense why Henri’s succession as King was not very welcomed. In fact, it took a civil war, which lasted four years against the Catholic League, before Henri actually claimed the throne.

And following his victory, he ultimately thrust Parisians into a food disaster of unmatched proportions.

First, he took over the control of numerous neighboring towns, such as Provins and Nogent-sur-Seine. This immediately endangered the Parisian food supply.

Then, Henri actually ordered all windmills to be burned– which made it virtually impossible for any Parisians to produce bread.

So sadly, by May of that year, the city’s residents were literally starving. They first turned to mules and horses as meals before resorting to dining on pet cats and dogs.

And afterward, once the supply of these animals diminished, Parisians actually began grazing on the grass at local parks.

Of course, though, grass would not be able to sustain the people of Paris through the siege. This meant they had just one last option– a loaf known as “Madame de Montpensier’s bread.”

According to a diary entry penned by Pierre L’Estoile on August 25, 1590, this bread was made from “the bones of our forefathers.” And it was named after Madame de Montpensier because she was a powerful force within the Catholic League who “exalted its invention.”

How exactly does one bake bread from the bones of loved ones past, you might ask? Well, the Parisians began by digging up mass graves at the Holy Innocents Cemetery.

And after collecting the skeletal pieces, they ground the bones into fine flour before using them for baking bread.

Of course, flour made from bone was nowhere near an adequate replacement for wheat. Primarily, it lacked gluten– a vital part of what holds bread together– and was also not exactly a food packed with nutritional value.

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