Sunday July 14 was Bastille Day. The actual phrase is La Fête Nationale. It was a day to celebrate the happy conclusion to the French Revolution. There was fireworks, feasting, wine drinking and people ran naked through the streets as a show of their new found freedom.
The Bastille Day Military Parade has taken place every July 14th morning since 1880. It is the longest and oldest regular military parade in Europe.
The Bastille was actually a medieval fortress that was called Bastille Saint-Antoine. It was built to protect the Eastern entrance in to Paris at a gate called Porte Saint-Antoine in 1357.
Bastille map and location of the Porte Saint~Antoine
From Turqot's Paris 1739
In 1417 the Bastille Saint-Antoine became a state prison. 5,279 prisoners had passed behind its walls by 1789. On July 14 seeking gum powder and other ammunition local folk stormed the Bastille. There were only 7 prisoners being held in the tower.
Fall of the Bastille July 14, 1789
Collection De Vinck / BnFs
This week we will look at paintings of the Bastille. We will also share some interesting facts regarding the Bastille Saint-Antoine and the events of July 14 1789.