Place de la Bastille, also known as Bastille Square, is a stunning attraction in Paris with an amazing history. Once the location of the notorious Bastille stronghold, Place de la Bastille is remembered for the start of the French Revolution in 1789. A great history, with amazing sights and culture, Place de la Bastille is a perfect historical attraction in Paris to visit.
A Brief History
The notorious Bastille stronghold, which was finally constructed in 1382, was a massive building that featured 8 huge towers, each standing 72ft in height. The purpose of this stronghold was to protect the city from invasion during the famous Hundred Years’ War. The Bastille stronghold would later turn into a prison, housing criminals sent to jail by the King. Famous inmates of the Bastille Prison included Sade, Fouquet and Voltaire. It was well known that the treatment of these prisoners in the Bastille Prison was inhumane and strong, nevertheless the prison remained open until the “Storming of the Bastille” in 1789.
On July 14 1789 the Bastille Prison was stormed by a rebellious group opposed to the National Guard. The Bastille Prison was overrun and the prisoners inside were released. This day marked the start of the French Revolution and is still celebrated around France as Bastille Day, a French national holiday since it was declared in 1860.
Following the storming of the Bastille, the prison was demolished. Nowadays you can see a marking of where the Bastille Stronghold/Prison once was, and some remains of the foundations are also visible along Boulevard Henri IV.
Want to know more about the history of Place de la Bastille and the French Revolution?
The French Revolution Walking Tour is a great way to learn about the significance of one of the most important events in modern history in an interesting and real way. The walk is highly entertaining and visual – allowing you to experience history right in front of your own eyes. Hear the gripping tales of the revolution from the overthrow of the monarchy to the guillotine, relive the troubled times leading up to the storming of the Bastille prison, the capture of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and the Reign of Terror. Learn about Louis XVI – the proud king who lost his throne and his life and Marie Antoinette – the Austrian Queen who uttered the infamous phrase, “… then let them eat cake.” It can all be experienced on the French Revolution Walk.
Bastille Square was constructed in 1803 and includes a giant Elephant shaped fountain, columns depicting the revolution and other monuments. The only column left standing in the current day is Colonne de Juillet, which was constructed to commemorate those who lost their life in the revolution of 1830 when King Charles X was overthrown. This 171ft column is a magnificent sight, constructed with beauty and elegance. Atop the mammoth column sits the Spirit of Liberty statue, another magnificent piece of art that is worth seeing.
Opéra Bastille (Bastille Opera)
Opened on July 14th 1989, the Bastille Opera building was constructed to be part of the grand projects initiated by former president François Mitterrand. The design of the Opera house was meant to be a direct replacement for the Palais Garnier, Opéra National de Paris. The Bastille Opera House is considerably larger than that of the Palais Garnier, with over 2700 seats, it is an upgrade to the original Opera house which tends to only show ballet performances in the modern day.
Inside the Opera Bastille are many shops and even a metro exit, making the Opera house a lot more “people friendly” than Palais Garnier. There are a large selection of Opera and Ballet shows taking place in the Bastille Opera House on a daily basis and it is highly recommended to catch a show if you are visiting Place de la Bastille.
Place de la Bastille Hotels
One of the best hotels if you are looking for a great location with home comforts. The food here is delicious, the breakfasts are something that comes up on nearly every review for La Marceau Bastille Hotel as being a highlight. The location is perfection – centrally located between the historic Bastille district and Marais district. The facilities are endless, from a gym and massage service to a business centre, La Marceau Bastille has it all and comes highly recommended!
Highly reviewed and rated, Hotel Le Pavillon Des Lettres offers immaculately clean, fresh rooms at affordable prices. The location is ideal, less than half a mile from the Bastille Opera, it is ideal if you are wanting to catch a show then come back to a beautiful hotel which is nicely decorated. The staff are friendly, helpful and bi-lingual and pets are allowed here. An ideal hotel for those on a budget wanting a central location.