Bastille has been built in 1370-1382. King Louis XIV has maintained bastille as " luxury prison ". Bastille has been destroyed as symbol of oppression by people of Paris at 14th of July 1789. The Bridge of Agreement was built from stones of bastille (Pont de la Concorde)Concorde. King Louis Philip in 1840 called to build on this square " Genie de la Liberte, who holds in hand burst chain and in second hand torch of civilization. Some manifestations and 1st of May parades commence here.
Am glad i went here but it is probably over-rated.
Suggest visit as one of the last things, stop for a drinkie in a cafe (they are busy) and then get a metro to any other out-of-the-way sights before going home
Little remains of the historic Bastille prison that gives this public 'square' its name. 14 July 1798 and the storming of the Bastille is the celebrated beginning of the French revolution. The prison was demolished a week later, but there is an outline of the building in the square. Nowadays, the Place is dominated by the Opera de la Bastille - a megolithic building and one of Mitterand's 'grand projets' for the city. It was one of the most controversial of all his plans, with the building referred by many as the world's largest toilet.
In the centre of the square is the July Column, built not in commemoration of the Revolution but for the Parisians killed in the riots of 1830 and 1848.
But the building of the Opera certainly rejuvenated the area (a traditionally working class stronghold) and with its cafes, clubs etc, this extremely busy intersection is now one of the trendiest parts of Paris.
My journey around Paris started off at the Colonne de Juillet, located on the Place de la Bastille. My hotel was located in this area, and this was one of the first views of Paris I got. The long column, almost 52 metres high, with the gold statue on top was towering high above anything else in the area. And like everything in Paris this column has a long history to it.
The Colonne de Juillet is located in the middle of the square and is surrounded by a rather busy roundabout. The square and its surroundings are often referred to as the 'Bastille', which is a lively and popular area in Paris, with lots of cafes and bars. But, hahaha, I guess I am getting on a side-track here; back to the column and why it is placed here....
The column dates back to July 28, 1840, and was build in order of King Louis-Philippe (1773 – 1850) who wanted a monument to commemorate both the French revolution of 1789 (also known as the storming of the Bastille) and the "three glorious days" of the July revolt in 1830. The column is located roughly where the medieval Porte Sainte-Antoine once stood.
On a sunny day the glistering gold-leafed bronze statue on top will certainly draw your attention. This is the Génie de la Liberté (the Spirit of Freedom) and was designed by sculptor Augustin-Alexandre Dumont.
Interested in reading more about the history of the Place the La Bastille and the July revolution? Then these two external links might be something for you:
Also located on the Place de la Bastille is the interesting building of the Opéra National de Paris Bastille. It is hard not to notice this building as it is in such a sharp contrast with the more historical surroundings. But I can't say it is ugly, or out of tone with the rest, I actually found the architecture rather interesting and fascinating to look at. Unfortunately with the busy square in front of it, it wasn't so easy to get a good view (especially with the camera) of the whole building.
I haven't been inside, although I wouldn't mind taking a peek there! The design on the outside is quite impressive and it made me wonder how the inside would be like. The Opera building was inaugurated on July 13, 1989, on the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.
When talking about opera, one name here on VT comes to mind right away: VT member Nemorino. He has been to Paris recently and saw no less then 8 operas during his stay. So if you are interested in seeing an opera, do drop by on his pages, he has a wealth of information about the opera on them.
For many years, the Opéra Garnier was the only large opera building of Paris. The performances in this theater was fantastic, but so were the prices to come in. For a long time ideas were brought up to build a theater for the normal people. President Mitterand was the one who finally decided that this theater had to come at the Place the la Bastille: a place that historically belonged to the people.
The Canadien architect Carlos Ott was the one whose design was selected out of 700 applications. His idea didn't only included an opera house for 2700 people, but also a library and a cinema. The design is very modern for a classic place like the Place de la Bastille. Steel, glass and concrete are the main materials used both inside and outside. In 1989, right before the memorial celebration of the French Revolution, the building was officially opened.
The prices for the Opéra Bastille are as low as they wanted them to be where it was built. Check out opera-de-paris.fr if you want to visit a performance. It is also possible to get a guided tour through the building.
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.