Foullon was considered "clever but harsh" and known for being staunchly conservative. Briefly before the Storming of the Bastille in 1789, he was appointed the successor to Jacques Necker. The starving masses of France saw Necker as the country's savior, demanding fewer taxes. In contrast, Foullon and his son-in-law Bertier de Sauvigny were popularly seen as partially responsible for the nationwide food shortages of the period. By legend, Foullon said during an early famine that, "If they're so hungry, they can graze on hay."
Around this time, Foullon hoarded foodstuffs and sold them at an exorbant rate. The Assassin Brotherhood located one of his warehouses in Les Halles, and sent Arno Dorian to eliminate the guards, open the warehouse and give the people access to the food. Following this, Foullon attempted to move foodstuffs to his warehouses by transporting crates of flour across the rooftops of Paris near the Hôtel de Ville. However, Arno eliminated Foullon's lieutenants in charge of the shipments.
On 22 July 1789, briefly into the French Revolution, Foullon was taken from his countryside refuge by an angry mob and marched barefoot to Paris. Along the way, he was whipped with nettles, forced to carry a bundle of hay and given only peppered vinegar to drink. The mob attempted to hang him by a lamp post at the Place de Grève, but after three failed attempts at this, the mob beheaded Foullon and paraded his head atop a pike through the streets of Paris. Following his death, the slogan "À la lanterne!" became popular.