Place de la Bastille is one of the more well-known squares in Paris and occupies an important place in French history. This is where the Bastille Prison stood until 1789, when this 'symbol of royalist tyranny' was stormed on July 14 during the French Revolution. No trace of the Bastille prison remains but the square is still a place where Parisians go to raise their voices in political protest.
In the middle of the square stands the July column, commemorating the three-day July Revolution of 1830. yet another overthrowing of a French king.
These days the Bastille is a large traffic roundabout and the surrounding area is known for its bars, cafes, and nightclubs. It is home to the Opera Bastille, a marina for pleasure boats and the Canal Saint Martin.
A thoroughly enjoyable walk with our great guide! We had lots of photo opportunities and lots of inside knowledge on the area. Thanks for a great afternoon topped off by a visit to a fabulous bakery!
It was a gray day with the Paris skies periodically crying on us. However, our guide Gil Soltz made the trip well worth the visit. We started at the Pompidou Center of Art (which looks like it's still under construction...with all it's 'insides' hanging out). We ended at the site of the Bastille. In between, we wandered the Paris streets, a warren of randomly connected neighborhoods. We lingered at the the Hotel de Ville, the city hall and heard of its many lives. We saw preservation efforts, sites saved, sites lost and replaced with character-less buildings, a church, a Kosher neighborhood, and an eclectic array of shops, restaurants, and architecture. Our guide lives not far from the end of our journey and his love for the area was evident. With our small group of four, it was easy to ask questions and have the tour adapted to our needs. We return to Paris in two week and plan to return to the Marais District to do further looking since we have been well oriented by our guide. Paris is so big, being able to take a 'small bite' like this is very helpful in appreciating why Paris is so well loved.
It was great! Paul (from Wyoming) was very knowledgeable and made the various sites and events of the revolution(s) make much more sense to us, giving us background and insight as to how one event influenced another. He ended it at a cafe that had been frequented by Robespierre etc., which was perfect for us. It is not an exaggeration to say that, for our purposes, his tour made our trip so much more worthwhile.