Friday, October 19, 2012

Place de la Bastille, Marais | Paris Travel

Walking along rue d'Hôtel de Ville.

Our Silver Paris

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where I share our experiences of our special journey to Paris.
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Whenever we left our appartement and walked to the Métro station Bastille, we'd see this column, topped with a golden génie

Métro station Bastille is located at place de la Bastille, the plaza where the column is located.  As a helpful side note--Métro stations are generally named after a street, or place, or museum, near which they are located.

The column at place de la Bastille.

The column and statue were built in memory of the Revolution of 1830, which saw a king put back on the throne.  On the top sits the Spirit of Liberty holding broken chains.  According to our walking-tour book:

During the reign of Louis XIV the Bastille became notorious as a place where the king could send his enemies without them being tried.  The king's infamous 'Lettres de Cachet' were enough to earn someone an indeterminate sentence; among the famous here were the Man in the Iron Mask, the Marquis de Sade, Voltaire and the celebrated Latude, who escaped several times.  ~ 24 Great Walks in Paris, p. 50.  (ISBN 978-0-470-22897-5)

The génie de liberté atop the column at place de la Bastille.

A massive medieval castle, the Bastille was built to defend the Paris of Charles V.  It was completed in 1382, having taken 13 years to build.  It took only four months to destroy it, in 1789.

The column at place de la Bastille.

On one of our nighttime walks, we happened down rue Saint Antoine and spotted the column in its evening light.  It made for a great photo.  :)

Night view of the column at place de la Bastille, taken from rue Saint Antoine.

Also located at place de la Bastille is the new opera house, Opéra Bastille, with an elegant modern curving glass front.

The Opéra Bastille, in place de la Bastille.

The building was designed in the 1980s by Venezuelan/Canadian architect Carlos Ott.  Almost all of its 2,700 seats afford perfect visibility.  Guided tours are sometimes available; the booking hall is on the right.

Opéra Bastille.

This plaza (place in French--pronounce the "a" as "ah" as in father) is a busy one (especially on weekends).  Six to eight streets meet around its circle, making walking slightly dangerous (pay attention!) and reading a map nigh impossible.  I say "six to eight streets" since a few "couples" of streets come to a point together, then come into the circle.  It's crazy.

Its Métro station--an exchange station for three different lines--is just as busy and crazy, with six entrances/exits depending on where you are in the place.  Although Fernando and I mastered the Métro after just a few rides, it took us about six tries before we figured out which of the six exits to use so we could emerge at the right street without having to brave crossing several streets to get back to our appartement!  When we finally did figure it out, we shared a triumphant fist-bump.  :)

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1 comment:

  1. You really studied the history of the places you visited, it is so interesting. And the pictures are so pretty.