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Vive la Révolution! Enjoy Bastille Day at These 4 Revolution Sites to Visit in Paris

Written by Going Places

This blog post was updated on July 5, 2022.

Every July 14th, fireworks fill the night skies over France, celebrating the first major event of the French Revolution. Bastille Day, sure enough, has become France’s time for celebrating independence, and a proud day to commemorate among French people scattered throughout the planet. If you happen to find yourself in Paris at this time of year, be sure to don’t miss these four places in France to celebrate Bastille Day!

Place de la Bastille

What many don’t know is that Bastille Day marks the day in which the Bastille prison in Paris was stormed. The event took place on July 14, 1789. The building was completely destroyed in an act of defiance against the French monarchy and a symbol of revolutionary change. However, visitors can still head to Place de la Bastille, where the 14th century fortress formerly stood. Nothing remains of the fortress besides a small semblance of the foundations. Today it centers around the July Column, commemorating July 3, 1830 when another French king was given the boot. Cars whizz around the square presently, but you can grab a drink or bite to eat at a number of bars and cafes in the area while pondering the monumental event.

La Conciergerie

You’ll find a more chilling French Revolution site in Paris at la Conciergerie. The royal palace was converted into a prison and saw roughly 2,800 prisoners during the French Revolution. Enemies of the Revolution were incarcerated here and often spent their last days of life inside the prison’s walls. The most famous prisoner was no doubt Queen Marie Antoinette, although we of course know that her residency was temporary. You can still visit a reproduction of her cell. La Conciergerie sits right next to the Palace de Justice and overlooks the Seine River.

Jardin des Tuileries

The Jardin des Tuileries might seem anything but a symbol of the French Revolution. It hardly looks like a place where battles were fought. Its manicured lawns, fountains, ponds, and sculpture lend a very peaceful spot in Paris to roam. However, these grounds do have a past. They were once part of the Royal Palais des Tuileries, where Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and their children were held under house arrest. A violent mob attacked the palace and, by 1871, nothing remained. You can roam the 28-hectare gardens and imagine the green space during its more turbulent times.

You may also like: 9 Must-See Museums in Paris (That Aren’t the Louvre)

Musée Carnavalet

Also referred to as “the Paris history museum,” Musée Carnavalet traces the story of this famous city from its prehistoric beginnings to present day. If you want a greater understanding of the history of the French Revolution, start looking for cheap vacation packages and head to Le Marais, because this is definitely a good place to begin! The museum contains a permanent collection of the history of the French Revolution, chronicled through paintings, documents, and relics. Besides, visitors won’t have to pay a euro: admission is free for permanent collections and themed exhibitions.

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