The Bastille area is a popular and lifely area. North-east of the place de la Bastille are many cafés and bars. One of the last times I visited Paris, my hotel was not far from here and I often ended my long walking days somewhere here.
The former rather run-down neighbourhoud has an upgrading after the opening of the new opera. It became a colourful and lifely area with lots of galleries and ateliers.
From the southside of the Place de la Bastille you have an unexpected look at the Porte de Plaisance de Paris Arsenal. This canal with lot of boats is a section of the Canal Saint Martin. At this greener side of the Place de la Bastille close to the canal youngsters were skating and other people just sit down away from the traffic in the central part of the Place de la Bastille.
The Opera de la Bastille, designed by the Canadian architect Calros Ott, opened its doors on 14 July 1989, the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison. This 'opera of the people' is a massive half-round building with a huge facade of glass.
The modern Bastille operahouse was meant to be to replace the Opera Garnier, but also nowadays the Opera Garnier is still used for operas and ballet performances.
The great hall of the new operahouse has 2700 seats, every with an unrestricted view at the stage. Totally the operahouse has five movable stages and the modernest technical equipment. Except to visit a performance it's also possible to make a guided tour of the building.
La Place de Bastille is the historical site where the Bastille prison stood which was stormed at the 14th of July in 1789, which date still is commerated every year in France. The infamous prison itself is demolished shortly afterwards.
Nowadays the Place de la Bastille is a very busy traffic roundabout. In the centre of the square stands the 52M high July Column (Colonne de Juillet). This column is erected in 1833 commemorating the events of the July Revolution in 1830.
At the south-east side of the square the modern Bastille Opera is now the most striking building of the Place de la Bastille. At the square sometimes concerts take place, but also this historical square is often used for political demonstrations.
Place de la Bastille
I'll never forget my first glimpse of the Colonne de Juillet! The grand July Column greeted me during my April 2003 trip to Paris. It was my first day in the city & I was on my way to my hotel with my rolling suitcase bumping along behind me. I came up out of the Metro & there it was! HUGE! Monumental! Glorious! Soaring! What an impression to be made upon exiting from the underground - wow.
This past February I headed out to the Place de la Bastille with the intent of getting a good close look at this monument & to do some people-watching at the Cafe des Phares, one of the philocafes on the Place. It was a perfect day to watch the Sunday crowds stroll by & to do a fashion review. The lady in the fur coat is one of the fashion statements caught on film - many fur coats throughout Paris this February even in working-class Bastille.
Photos: Feb 2006
The modern mirror-glass building of Opera de Paris-Bastille was inaugurated by the French President Francois Mitterrand in 1989.
Having a form easily to be associated with a ship, the new opera has an auditorium with 2,700 seats and several revolving scenes.
This symbolic place in France's history, where the events of 1789 took place, is dominated today by the July Column.
The construction works to the fortified residence, called La Bastille, were started in 1370.
Among the renowned prisoners closed in La Bastille we can mention Mirabeau and Voltaire, but also the Man in the Iron Mask.
Following the events that took place on July 14th, 1789 La Bastille was demolished and today paving stones mark the former building.
July Column (Colonne de Juillet) is 52m high and is dominated by the statue of Liberty.
I've always assumed that the monument in Place de la Bastille commemorated only the French Revolution in 1789. WRONG! It is the Colonne de Juillet in celebration of France's Independence Day, but the plaque added in 1840 commemorates the folks who participated in a later uprising in July of 1830, which is known as "The Three Glories", because it lasted 3 days!
The inscription says:
« À la gloire des citoyens français qui s'armèrent et combattirent pour la défense des libertés publiques dans les mémorables journées des 27, 28, 29 juillet 1830 »
Please click on the photo for more detail.
The Place de la Bastille is the place where the history of France was made. It may not be just as nice-looking like the Place Vendome, the Place de la Concorde or the Place des Vosges, but the Place de la Bastille definitely is a place where you must have been to feel the history.
At this place the Bastille was built in 1380, to protect the Eastern entrance of Paris. It had been a fortress for a long time, when it was turned into a prison. People that disagreed with the situation of inequality were locked up, like the famous Marquis de Sade and the writer Voltaire. In those days the power was with the Royalty and with the aristocraty, the wealthy people.
At the 14th of July, 1789, the poor people of Paris revolted against this situation and attacked the Bastille. It was the start of the French Revolution where the monarchy was brought down and the republic was started.
Today nothing is left of the Bastille as it was before the Revolution. Instead in 1840 the Colonne de Juillet was placed here to memorise the victimes of this hard period of French history. It´s 50 metres high and has all the names of the victimes written on it.
A sign of the modern Paris also is very clear at the Place de la Bastille. The hypermodern Opera de la Bastille has a dominant place at the square. But of course the Colonne is the sign where it´s all about at the Place de la Bastille.
The Opera Bastille has been criticized as being too large and shiny for its historic location. I shared that opinion until, during an evening in which we attended an opera, I got a chance to view the building inside and out, in daylight and the darkness. As the photo montage shows, the design is based on a grid, which once you see it, makes the facade of the building much less monolithic.
Coming in Paris for my second time, this is where I emerged from the underground (metro) in the first day.
Of course, Bastille was the name of the feared prison in Paris. Before being a prison, Bastille was a stronghold, finished in 1382, protecting Paris from invasions. The stronghold was converted into a prison by Richelieu. Some of the most famous inmates were Voltaire, Fouquet and Sade. The Bastille had a terrible reputation, but in reality there were few prisoners and the treatment was better than in most prisons.
The Square of Bastille was created later, in 1803 and it also included a fountain in the shape of an elephant, but the fountain was removed in 1847. The only thing that remained stantind in the square is the 52 meters high Colonne de Julliet, commemorating the revolution of 1830.
There was raining at the moment I took this picture. I think it will be much much more beautiful if the weather is clear and not cloudy. T T
Later then, I cross the road and go to Opera de Paris Bastille. I didn't get inside the building, just walking around the front area.
Built by the well-known architect Carlos Ott, the Bastille was inaugurated on July 14th 1989. This modern building was designed both to integrate it into the town of the suburb beginning just beside it, and the old faubourg Saint-Antoine, known for its working-class and the bustling. The bastille Opera was built with the mission to drag the people in and make them at home and make the lyric spectacle speak to them directly.
The Bastille Opera is a product of the latest technology.
A sign of the Bastille Opera's vocation is that the metro exit is in the hall where shopping area have also been planned.
The Bastille has alot of importance to the French history. By crossing the Seine and following the Boulevard de la Bastille, you will find the site of the Bastille Saint-Antoine, which was a major part of the defences ordered by Charles V, built from 1370 onwards.
Louis XIV had the ramparts demolished but kept the Bastille as a luxury prison for people of quality.
Promoted to the rank of a symbol of the arbitrariness of the old monarchy, the Bastille was stormed by the Parisians on 14th July 1789, and later razed. To remember not the surrender of the prison with its last seven occupants in 1789, but the July Revolution of 1830, which replaced the autocratic Charles X with the "Citizen King" Louis-Philippe, a column surmounted by the "Spirit of Liberty" on place de la Bastille was erected.
months after the birth of the Second Republic in that year, the workers took to the streets. All of eastern Paris was barricaded, with the fiercest fighting on rue du Faubourg-St-Antoine. The rebellion was quelled with the usual massacres and deportation of survivors, but it is still the less contentious 1789 Bastille Day that France celebrates. Political protestors have always, however, used place de la Bastille as a rallying point, and still do.
Don't go to the Bastille expecting to find the famous prison there. It ain't there any more, all that remains is a column known as the Colonne de Juillet and the foundation stones in the subway station beneath the square.
(For those of you who don't know what the hell I am talking about, the Bastille was a prison which was stormed by the Mob in 1789 at the start of the French Revolution.)
Today, this square is also home to the Opéra Bastille, an alternative opera built for those who are turned off by the grandeur of the Opera Garnier.
On this place was famous fortress-prison Bastille. In July 14, 1789 thousands of Parisians marched against symbol of the monarchy’s regimes. Next day started demolition of fortress. Today you can see lines on the paving stones of square mark the outlines of the former fortress.
In the center is this memorial July Column which is built between 1831 and 1840 in memory of Parisians killed in July 1830. Their bodies are in marble base. The memorial is 52m high and on the top is figure of Liberty. If you decide to go on top you will climb 238 steps. There is great view on the top.
The Colonne de Juillet (July Column) is the centre of Place de la Bastille. It's erected in honour of the victims of the July revolution of 1830. On top of the tower is a gold plated statue, called Génie de la Révolution.
Nowadays the Colonne de Juillet is a starting point for a lot of protest demonstrations heading for the Place de la République.