The Bastille and its neighborhood

The Storming of the Bastille, July 14, 1789
The Storming of the Bastille, July 14, 1789

Today, it is one of the most famous revolutionary sites in the world. However, in 1789, the Bastille was still a State prison located in the center of a working-class neighborhood. On April 28th, more than three hundred laborers were massacred not far from here for having revolted against low salaries. On July 14th, insurgents – who were looking for gunpowder in order to defend themselves – attacked the large prison, hated by the people. The “storming of the Bastille” is the symbol of the Revolution. The location of the soon demolished fortress became a gathering site and in June 1794, a guillotine was even briefly set up here. A commemorative site of the French Revolution, the Bastille remained a privileged site for revolutions during the 19th century: barricades were set up here in 1830, 1848 and 1871. The Colonne de Juillet (July Column), which rises from its center, bears witness to this heritage: it serves as a mausoleum for the victims who fell during the Three Glorious Days (July 27-29, 1830). Even today, most demonstrations and social movements end up converging on the Place de la Bastille.

The Bastille and its neighborhood


  • April 27-28, 1789

    Riots at the Réveillon factory
  • July 14, 1789

    The storming of the Bastille
  • October 5, 1789

    The Women’s March begins in the Saint-Antoine neighborhood
  • July 18, 1790

    A dance is organized on the Bastille’s ruins
  • May 21, 1791

    The demolishing of the Bastille is completed
  • August 10, 1793

    A fountain representing Regeneration is placed on the former site of the Bastille during the Festival of Reunion
  • June 9-12, 1794

    The guillotine is moved to the Place de la Bastille
  • April 20 – May 1, 1795

    Beginning of the Germinal and Prairial uprisings in the Saint-Antoine neighborhood
  • July 14, 1880

    July 14th is decreed a national holiday. Students place a plaque commemorating the storming of the Bastille
See more / less
Follow us on Facebook