Thursday, 14 July 2011

Bastille Day! The Storming of the Bastille - July 14th

"Prise de la Bastille" (the taking of the Bastille.) 1789, by Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel.
The Bastille was a fortress built in the 14th century as part of the defenses of Paris, but it was later turned into a very uncomfortable prison. It held political and religious prisoners and writers. It was also well known for locking up people who had had a lettre de cachet served against them. These lettres de cachets were bought by the wealthy and those in power and were used to imprison people who they wanted out of the way. There was no appeal against them.

Hardly surprisingly the bastille was stormed by the people and burnt to the ground on July 14, 1789, at the beginning of the French Revolution. Nothing of it remains. Where it once stood is now Place de la Bastille with a column to mark the spot.
There are many cafes, bars and concert halls in the area.


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