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July Column, Place de la Bastille, 1840.

The Bastille was a large fortress in Paris, France, famous for its extensive dungeons in which many French revolutionaries were imprisoned. One of its more well-known tenants was the Marquis de Sade. It played an important role in the internal conflicts of France.

On July 14, 1789, the Bastille was stormed by a mob and its prisoners freed. The mob was acting under the assumption that the Bastille was torturing and killing prisoners due to a lie Sade crafted and announced via a makeshift megaphone. The storming of the Bastille is regarded as the start of the French Revolution. Bastille Day (July 14, a French national holiday) commemorates this event. The Bastille was destroyed the next day.

The fortress was demolished a day after the storming. Today, its former location is marked in the Boulevard Henri IV, and some portions of its foundation can be seen in the Bastille Metro station. The nearby Place de la Bastille is the site of the Bastille Opera house. But due to its destruction after 1789, very little remains of the Bastille in the 21st century.[1]