History and Visit of La Bastille in Paris
The Bastille Saint-Antoine, a fortress built on the current site of the Bastille, was demolished after July 14, 1789.
The Bastille was built during the reign of Charles V (1370-1383). It was a significant feature of the Parisian landscape and served as a symbol of the king’s authority. Initially, the Bastille had only four towers, but four more were added later. The Bastille had impressive dimensions, being 66 meters long, 34 m wide, and 24 m high at the top of the towers. It was surrounded by a moat fed by the Seine that was 25 meters wide and 8 feet deep.
The fortress was built to fortify the eastern walls of Paris and the vulnerable Porte Saint-Antoine. Its original purpose was to protect the king in case of a revolt by the people of Paris. The Bastille was not just a castle but also housed a large arsenal.
The Bastille served as a state prison, which was generally quite comfortable. The nobility and bourgeoisie were provided with large rooms, furniture, and firewood. Royal prisoners were allowed to correspond with the outside world, receive visitors, and enjoyed relative freedom of movement within the fortress.
The Bastille was stormed by the people of Paris on July 14, 1789. This event is now regarded as the symbol of the French Revolution, marking its beginning. The French national holiday commemorates the Fête de la Fédération on July 14, 1790, which coincided with the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.
The Bastille began to be demolished from July 15, 1789. Some of the stones were sold as souvenirs, and others were used to build the Pont de la Concorde. The Marquis de La Fayette sent a key to the Bastille to George Washington, the first president of the United States. This key is now on display at Mount Vernon. A second key was sent to Gournay-en-Bray, the birthplace of Maillart, the first revolutionary to enter the Bastille.
Transfer to the Bastille in Paris
The Bastille is located 17 km from Orly Airport, 33 km from Charles de Gaulle Airport, and 99 km from Beauvais Airport.