Thursday, May 28, 2009

Remnants of History

The Bastille is one of Paris's most well known landmarks, the only problem being that it no longer exists. Yes, that's right, folks. Get off the Métro at the Bastille stop and look around. Opera? Check. Canal? Check. But massive prison fortress. No dice. What didn't get stormed on that fateful July day got carted off, smashed to rubble or repurposed for use in other buildings around town. And that impressive monument in the middle of the place? It was erected to commemorate the revolution that took place in 1830, not the better known revolution of 1789.

But wait! There's more. More than 100 years after that first Bastille Day, excavators working on the Métro unearthed remains of one of the prison's massive towers. Urban renewal being what it was in the late 19th century, there was no place for a monument in the newly designed Place de la Bastille. But rather than ignore history, some clever soul decided to preserve the remains, moving them a few blocks south towards the Seine in what is now the Square Henri-Galli,near the Sully Morland métro stop. It doesn't look like much now but oh how the world would be different if that tower were still standing.

1 comment:

Starman said...

I love how Europeans consider their history worthy of being saved and honored.

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