This passage from the opening chapter of A Tale of Two Cities is not typical of Realism, although it does have some realistic details. While Realism depicts life objectively as it is with only factual elements, Charles Dickens does not limit himself to objectivity and realistic facts. Instead, Dickens interprets some facts with satire and employs subjective diction, as well as figurative language, at times.
Clearly the first line of this passage exemplifies subjectivity as Dickens offers his opinion of France as being less spiritual than England. In the next sentence, Dickens uses figurative, not factual, language as he personifies France who "entertains herself." This remark is also satiric. Furthermore, Dickens continues to satirize as he alludes to a "humane achievement" of the French authorities, guided by "Christian pastors," who order a young man terribly maimed because he did not kneel before "a dirty--also a subjective judgment--procession of monks.
Subsequent to this passage in A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens then writes of the guillotine in a very figurative manner,
It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history.
His inclusion of the personified Woodman, otherwise know as Fate, denotes that there is, indeed, nore than Realism in A Tale of Two Cities.