Metro Magic: Bastille, A Revolutionary Station

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Metro Magic: Bastille, A Revolutionary Station
This is the second in a monthly series of stories about the wonders of the Paris Metro System. Read the first one here. The mere mention of the word Bastille often conjures revolutionary thoughts. As you walk or rumble through the Bastille Metro Station, you may only be thinking of the fastest way to get where you’re going — using Bastille’s convergence of Metro Lines 1, 5, and 8. But you may also be getting some revolutionary vibes from the layers of history that are a part of this corner of Paris. The Line 1 Quai at Bastille. Photo © Meredith Mullins. Since you’re above ground on Line 1 at Bastille, you can look out over the Bassin de l’Arsenal. Photo © Meredith Mullins. Storming the Bastille The former site of the Bastille prison, just outside the metro station, was where the French revolution of 1789 symbolically began. Discontent had been stirring for years with the French monarchy (King Louis XVI), related to the feudal system, taxation, and overarching economic difficulties. However, the “storming of the Bastille” on July 14, 1789 was a pivotal moment. Storming the Bastille. © Meredith Mullins. The prison was seen as a symbol of royal tyranny. An angry crowd of close to 1000 protesters gathered on July 14 and attacked the prison, searching for weapons and gunpowder. After hours of fighting, the prison troops surrendered, the seven prisoners were freed, and, ultimately, the Bastille Governor in charge of the prison was taken to the Hôtel de Ville and beheaded. The revolution had begun. Commemoration of Bastille Day (July 14/Quatorze Juillet) To commemorate the 200th anniversary of this transformative day, ceramic artists Liliane Belembert and Odile Jacquot created a multi-paneled tiled mural in 1989 on the walls of the Line 1 quais. Commemoration of Bastille Day. © Meredith Mullins.

Lead photo credit : Metro Magic: Bastille. © Meredith Mullins

More in Art, histoire paris, Metro, Metro magic, Revolution, Station, train

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Meredith Mullins is an internationally exhibited fine art photographer and instructor based in Paris. Her work is held in private and museum collections in Europe and the U.S. and can be seen at or in her award-winning book "In A Paris Moment." (If you’re in Paris, a few rare, signed copies are available at Shakespeare and Company and Red Wheelbarrow.) She is a writer for OIC Moments and other travel and education publications.


  •  Meredith Mullins
    2021-04-01 11:49:53
    Meredith Mullins
    Dear David, I'm so glad you could travel virtually to the Bastille metro station. The mural is really wonderful. I had never really studied it in detail before (only for the one or two minutes while I was waiting for the metro). It was a great way to learn a little more French history. Hope you can return to Paris when things settle down. All best, Meredith