The French revolution started in 1789, but lasted until 1799 when Napoleon took over and restored order.
The revolution began in Paris, and because Paris is the capital of France, that is where the political power is, most of the revolution’s main events occurred in Paris. Do you want to know more about the French Revolution? Then read on to learn about the Paris of the Revolution.
The Concorde square was called ‘square of the revolution’ during the French revolution. Many people were guillotined on this square, including King Louis XVI and his wife Queen Marie-Antoinette.
Did you know that the King and the Queen had gotten married at the same place? The Concorde square is definitely part of the Paris of the Revolution, even though the obelisk and the buildings you see today were built after.
Maybe the most iconic place of the Paris of the Revolution, the Bastille was the main royal prison of Paris. It was thus the symbol of the King’s absolute power: he could put anyone he wanted in prison, without trial.
On the 14th July 1789, the revolutionary stormed the Bastille, hoping to find gunpowder. This event is really symbolic of the revolution; the 14th of July is today France’s national day.
It was however quite a bloody episode: the soldiers guarding the prison were quickly outnumbered, and the head of the governor of the Bastille was carried around in the streets of Paris on a spike. The Bastille was then completely destroyed, if you are looking for remains, go underground in the Metro station of line 5.
Only the Tuileries gardens are left today. But at the time of the revolution, there was also a Tuileries Palace, closing the courtyard of the Louvre. The palace was stormed in 1792, as the revolutionary wanted to capture the King (they failed, as the King was at the National Assembly).
By standing in the eastern part of the Tuileries gardens, you experience a little of the Paris of the Revolution, as it is where the battle for the Tuileries Palace occurred.
The Palace of Versailles is also one of the iconic places of the French Revolution. Located in the suburbs of Paris, you should also include it in the Paris of the Revolution. It is in the Palace of Versailles that, in 1789, the revolution started.
It is where the King conveyed the three orders (the nobles, the clergy, and the third-estate) to discuss financial reforms. As the third-estate could not obtain what it wanted, they started the revolution by writing a constitution for France and by forcing the King to sign it.
The National Assembly
The building of the National Assembly is called the Bourbon Palace. It used to be a private Palace, before it became the building for the French Parliament during the Revolution in 1795. This is where many iconic reforms of the revolution were debated, so you can include it in your list of the Paris of the Revolution.
The Champs de Mars
The Champs de Mars is where, on the 14th of July 1790, was held the fête de la federation, a feast to celebrate the reconciliation of the King with the people (which did not last very long). This is how the celebrations of the 14th of July started. It was thus a very important place for the Paris of the Revolution.