Posts Tagged ‘Bastille Day’

Demolition of the Bastille by Hubert Robert

The Bastille: in the shadow of a fortress

Truth be told, I miss the Bastille. The current column that stands where the old fortress towered above passersby seems very bland by comparison. What a building the old Bastille must have been! But 18th century Parisians had a grimmer take than I on the fortress. It was used as a weapon and ammunition depot […]



Bastille-demolition-Hubert-Robert

The aftermath of Bastille Day: what happened after the 14th of July 1789

I can never walk by the Place de la Bastille without thinking of the mighty fortress that used to stand there. A medieval oddity at what was then the city limit. Yes, I wish the huge walls were still there, towering over me. I recounted the events of that fateful summer day of 1789 in […]



Fete Federation Hubert Robert

14th of July 1790: the Festival of the Federation, first anniversary of Bastille Day

Today is the 220th anniversary of Bastille Day. But what about its very first anniversary? I will simply let Gabrielle, the heroine of my first novel, Mistress of the Revolution, recount the events. Just a note: I found the little ditty sung by the sans-culotte in this scene on an engraving of the time. But […]



Ollivier Hunt at the chateau of L Isle-Adam

Louis XVI, the Royal Hunt and Bastille Day

When Louis XVI wrote in his diary Rien (“Nothing”) on July 14, 1789, it did not mean that the King was oblivious to the events in Paris. On the contrary he had taken measures to prevent the unrest, in particular by posting foreign regiments in and around the capital. Those measures proved unsuccessful, and even […]



Storming of the Bastille

The 14th of July 1789: what really happened on Bastille Day?

First let’s put things in context. In 1789 France had been for decades in the grips of a budget crisis. It was due to the country’s absurd tax structure, and had recently been aggravated by the French support of the American Independence War. King Louis XVI, in order to implement new taxes, had called a […]