Bastille Day

Tuesday, 14th July 2009 by

Today, the fourteenth of July, is the French national holiday that is known in English as Bastille day.

The Bastille, a Parisian prison, was stormed on this day in 1789. Along with the Tennis Court Oath, it was the successful capture of the Bastille that marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

The Bastille was actually demolished that same year, and in its location is now Place de la Bastille which, fittingly for Paris, is now a large roundabout. Don't be fooled however, as the July column at the centre is actually a monument to a different revolution (the one when King Charles X was overthrown in 1830).

To the south-east is the Opéra Bastille, which was completed in 1989 and was intended to replace the old Opéra Garnier (Wikipedia) as the home of the National Opera of Paris. However such is the demand for opera in Paris that the two buildings are both still used - along with three others!

Looking around the streets you can see where the walls of the Bastille used to stand marked out with lighter coloured paving stones. During excavation for the Paris Metro in 1899, partial remains of one of the fort's towers were discovered and put on display in the nearby Square Galli.

Thanks to Julien, who originally posted a French version of this post over at Google Sightseeing Français!