The Bastille prison used to be a great fortification dating from the 14th century that used to stand where the current squares – named after it – now lays. First a fortified castle, it then becomes a prison, and has been destroyed during the 1789 French Revolution during a very famous historic event: the Storming of the Bastille. Unlike most beliefs, the Colonne de Juillet – now standing there – does not commemorate the French Revolution marked by the Storming of the Bastille but the one in 1830.
What remains of it now? On site, if you closely look at the ground, you will notice pavement stones which layout is different from the others: they draw the outside lines of the former fortress. On a building in the 4th arrondissement, a slate will tell you the position of the fortress in comparison with a current map. But to discover the remnants of the Bastille Prison, you will have to head to the Square Henri-Galli – set by the Seine riverbanks, along the Boulevard Henri IV.
This is where you can see a stone-made base. This is one of the towers of the Bastille prison – the one that used to be called the “Tour de la Liberté” or the “Tower of Liberty”. Yet, the angle the remnant is now found does not mark the original location of the tower. The foundations of the Tour de la Liberté have been moved away there once found when metro line 1 was created. They originally were found on rue Saint-Antoine, and the mark on the ground in front of the 1 shows its spot.
What do we know about the tower? As for its size, it should be 24-m (78.74-ft) tall, and 10-m (32.8-ft) wide, covering 5 stories. The Marquis de Sade stayed on the 2nd floor and rumor has it the ground floor was a torture room. As for its name, Tour de la Liberté, no one knows why: some leads say it is a sarcastic nickname, but others think this is because prisoners in this tower used to have more liberties than others.
To conclude, here is what the Bastille prison originally looked like:
Dates and Opening Time
Starts 8 April 2021
Place de la Bastille
75011 Paris 11