I already posted about Place de la Bastille and the Bastille prison, tried to describe what it looked like, where it stood until it was attacked July 14th, 1789, what remains….
It took about a year, to have it completely demolished. It was then decided to make an open place here, celebrating liberty, and to erect a column.
However, Napoleon had the idea to build a monument in the shape of an elephant. A full scale plaster model was built, but never the real one. In 1833, it was decided to finally build the column originally planned, but now it would be dedicated to another Revolution, the 1830 July one. The column was inaugurated in 1840.
The other evening I was invited to a vernissage close to Place de la Bastille. On the way home, seeing the “Colonne de Juillet” (the July Column) reflected in some windows, including in those of the Bastille Opera, I thought I should have a closer look at it.
There are no pedestrian crossings to reach the middle of the place, so to reach it, and leave it, involved some danger, but as the serious blogger I am, I took the risk.
So, the column celebrates the “three glorious days” in July 1830, a second Revolution, which led to the replacement of Charles X by Louis-Philippe and what was supposed to be a more liberal constitution. In the meantime, there had been some 615 victims. You can read their names on the column. On the top of the column we find the “Génie de la Liberté” (Spirit of Freedom) with broken chains and the torch of civilisation. (Louis Philippe had to leave in 1848 after a third Revolution and the names of some additional 200 victims were added on the column.)
Hector Berlioz composed for the inauguration of the column the “Grand Funeral and Triumphal Symphony”. (You can listen to part of it in a version by the London Symphony Orchestra / Colin Davis – the illustration is the famous painting representing the 1830 Revolution by Delacroix – “Liberty Leading the People”.)
Not quite a revolution, but close to the place – on which they were not allowed - there was a little crowd of “indignés”, imitating the “indignados” of Puerta del Sol in Madrid.
Not bothering too much about such matters, there was already, in the early evening, a crowd of young people in the nearby famous rue de Lappe, previously famed for a number of cafés owned by natives from the Auvergne region, later more known for javas, musettes… Now remains one typical Auvergne restaurant and the “Balajo”… and a lot of clubs, bars and shops according to today’s fashion.
Addendum, June 16, afternoon:
Claude reminded me kindly about this song by Arisitide Bruant (1851-1925), recorded around 1910. The poster is of course by Toulouse-Lautrec.