Bastille Day - Key Parisian Sights

11 July 2012
Read Time: 1.2 mins

The catalyst that sparked the French Revolution was the storming of the infamous Bastille Prison on July 14 1789. Bastille Day, as its commonly known, is France's national holiday and is celebrated with spectacular fireworks in the capital, Paris. Travellers who coincide a French holiday with Bastille Day are in for a terrific treat. But while you're in the Paris, maybe you might appreciate exploring various locations connected to the French Revolution.

Here are some major Parisian sights that are associated with the storming of the Bastille and the Revolution.

 The Sumptuous Versaille Palace

Place de la Bastille
Very little remains of the actual Bastille Prison today - it was largely destroyed by the revolutionaries in 1789 - however there are some foundations visible from Boulevard Henri IV. The Bastille stood on what is now Place de la Bastille. The major attraction on the intersection is Opera Bastille that was constructed in 1989 to commemorate the bicentennial of the storming.

Place de la Concorde
While today Place de la Concorde is a particularly beautiful central square, during the revolution it was the location of many beheadings by the guillotine. The most famous execution was that of Marie-Antoinette, the Queen at the time of the revolution. In 1793, Marie-Antoinette was paraded through the streets of Paris from her prison cell in the Conciergerie to the Place de la Concorde where she was guillotined.

Palace of Versailles
In France, the Château de Versailles was the seat of political power from 1682 until the French Revolution - no other structure in the country epitomised the decadence of the ruling class. During the revolution, the contents of the Palace were largely relocated but the structure itself was protected from destruction. Today, the true magnificence can be appreciated with an incredible restoration process and the placement of much period furniture.

Tuileries Palace
In 1789, the ruling family including Louis XVI were forced from Versailles and kept under house arrest at the Tuileries Palace in central Paris for two years. The building later played a central role for Napoleon and the Second Empire. As history would have it, the building was torched in 1871 and demolished completely in 1883. However today, the Tuileries Garden is a wonderful public garden and faces the iconic Louvre.

Lyndon Barnett

Guided by curiosity and a sense of adventure, Lyndon travelled independently to 69 countries on six continents. As such, travel is Lyndon's only addiction. He enjoys with equal measure - scaling the peaks of a South American mountain at altitude, attending opera in a European Opera House or hunting for a bargain in an Asian market.