Now only the name of the spacious square, Place de la Bastille, is a reminder that the notorious state prison known as the Bastille, the much hated symbol of absolutist power, once stood here. Nothing is left of the building except a few foundations in the Métro, for after the storming of the Bastille on July 14 1789 it was completely demolished within a few months.
Transit: Metro: Bastille; Bus: 20, 29, 65, 76, 86, 87, 91.
Opéra de la Bastille
The site of the Bastille is now occupied by the new Opera House designed by the Uruguay-born Canadian architect Carlos Ott and officially opened by President Mitterand on July 13 1989. The first performance, after the final completion of construction work, was of Berlioz's "Trojans" on March 17 1990.This prestigious building, a combination of rectangles and curves, covers an area of some 15 hec/37 acr. The stepped lattice-work glass facade has a cool and functional appearance. The bright foyer forms a kind of semicircle round the auditorium, whose tent-like glass ceiling harmonizes well with the steeply raked rows of white seats below. At the entrance is a colorful statue of the Genius of femininity by Niki de Saint-Phalle. The gigantic stage of the main house, which has seating for 2,700, is surrounded by five subsidiary stages of similar dimensions beside it and behind it. The view of the stage from the auditorium and the acoustics are both excellent. The complex also includes an amphitheater with seating for 600, a theater which can be arranged to seat audiences of varying size between 600 and 1,300, a studio with seating for 280, rehearsal stages, a library and a videotheque.Adjoining the Opera is the Grandes Marches restaurant, demolished and rebuilt as a historical replica.
Address: 120 rue de Lyon, Place de Bastille, F-75012 Paris, France
Opening hours: 11am-6pm; Closed: Sun
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), 1945 Victory Day (May 8), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Bastille Day - France (Jul 14), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Remembrance Day / 1918 Armistice Day (Nov 11), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Pentecost Monday (Whit Monday) - Christian, Ascension Thursday - Christian
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €6.00, Concession or reduced rate €3.00
Useful tips: The season runs from early October through to mid-July and one opera is staged at a time but concerts and recitals also take place so you should write ahead to check the schedule if you want to see an opera. Tickets can be ordered two months before a performance. Tickets go on sale at the box office 14 days before. Located at the west side of the opera house, the box office is open Mondays through Saturdays from 11am-6 p.m. Documentation in foreign languages available.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Facilities: Gift shop
Transit: Metro: Bastille
Bastille Colonne de Juillet
In the center of Place de la Bastille is the 51m/167ft high Colonne de Juillet, topped by a graceful figure of Liberty (by Dumont), which was regilded in 1989. It commemorates not the fall of the Bastille but the Republicans killed during the July Revolution of 1830 which overthrew Charles X and brought Louis-Philippe to power. Four Gallic cocks and a lion relief on the base of the column symbolize the free people of France. A spiral staircase (283 steps) inside the column leads to a viewing platform from which there is an impressive view of the new Opéra-Bastille.