Eugene’s privileged lifestyle was to come to an abrupt end when he was 9. The Revolution of 1789 had set out to destroy the Church and its domination over the lives of people. The noble de Mazenod family had to flee into exile. Yvon Beaudoin gives us the background:
The First Republic was proclaimed on September 21, 1792 and lasted until May 28, 1804 when it was replaced by the Empire under Napoleon. Eugene rarely mentions them, but had to live with the effects of their reign. It was during this period that the French Revolution was violent. It began peaceful enough with the goal of shifting from a society based on privilege to a society where equality was the law for everyone. On August 4, 1789, feudal privileges were suppressed by the National Assembly. The Assembly proclaimed the Declaration of the Rights of Man on August 26. The parliament of Aix, just like parliaments in the other parts of the country, was suppressed by the decree of September 7, 1790; suppressed as well was the Court of Accounts on July 4, 1791.
A counter revolutionary movement began to form in Aix. In opposition to this, militant clubs were formed to defend the Revolution. In December 1790, unrest broke out, mobs wanted to seize a few aristocrats, a few of whom were hung on the boulevard which passes in front of the de Mazenod mansion. It was at that time, about December 13, 1790, that, disguised as a hunter, President de Mazenod fled to Nice where, in February 1791, he called for Eugene to join him.