After the defeat of the French at Poitiers in 1356 during the 100 year war with England, there was need for a stronghold to protect Paris from invasion.
Construction of this stronghold started in 1370 and was completed in 1382. Known as the Bastille, the massive building had four meter wide walls and eight 22m high towers.
The stronghold was later converted into a prison by Richelieu. Most of the prisoners were enemies of the king, sent to prison by a simple order under the king's seal. The Bastille had a terrible reputation, but in reality there were few prisoners and the treatment was better than in most prisons. Nonetheless, the Bastille became a symbol of the arbitrariness of the monarchy.
On July 14, 1789 the Bastille was stormed by a crowd reinforced with a rebellious detachment of the National Guard. The few guards soon surrendered, and the 7 prisoners were freed.
The capture of the Bastille marks the start of the French Revolution. It is celebrated each year as the Bastille Day, which was also declared the French national holiday in 1860.
Two days after the crowds had captured the Bastille stronghold, orders were given to demolish the building.
A marking in the Boulevard Henri IV shows where the former building was located. Some stones of the foundation are visible in the Bastille subway station.
The square of the Bastille was created later, in 1803. It included a fountain in the shape of an elephant, which is referred to by Victor…