Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, who from the first appears to have been simply Edgar to his family, was born in Paris around eight-thirty in the evening of July 19, 1834, at 8 Rue Saint-Georges, one of the partly new streets near the magnificently new church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette and at about the point where the central plain of the Right Bank begins to rise perceptibly toward the windmills, vineyards, bistros, and artists' studios on the Butte of Montmarte. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres - Monsieur Ingres, even to his detractors - was fifty-four years old, Eugene Delacroix was thirty-six, Honore de Balzac thirty-five, Victor Hugo thirty-two, and Hector Berlioz thirty-one. In the working-class Beaubourg quarter, King Louis-Philippe's soldiers had just restored order after a series of riots; at the Opera, balletomanes had just begun to thriill to the rivalry between the ethereal Marie Taglioni and the pagan Fanny Elssler. A railway line to suburban Saint-Germain-en-Laye was under construction.
-Roy McMullen, Degas: His Life, Times, and Work