47/50.- Paris, Place de la Bastille


This is one of the most famous sites in town: the 'Place de la Bastille'. Here is where the French revolution started. The 'Bastille' used to be a fortress and prison in Paris, symbol of royal absolutism. On July 14th the infuriated crowd slaughtered the guards and freed the prisoners in the 'Bastille' -- actually only seven prisoners were there at the moment. Events were exaggerated by the romantic historians of the nineteenth century and since 1880, July 14, is the French national holiday.

In the photo you can see the 'Colonne de Juillet' (July Column) -which commemorates the overthrow of Charles X in July 1830- and the 'Opéra de la Bastille' -erected in 1989 to commemorate the bicentennial of the French Revolution. Since then this area has become quite trendy; with chic art galleries, jazz clubs, theaters, restaurants and bars.

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