‘Bastille Day’ commemorates the famous Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a key turning point in the French Revolution. It is a day to celebrate freedom, democracy, and liberal ideas, usually by the eating of delicious French-inspired food & the drinking of much champagne.
The Bastille was a notorious fortress-prison in Paris where many people were confined without trial or hope of release, making it a symbol of the absolute power of the monarchy. At the time of the attack there were only seven prisoners in the prison, but the Bastille also held a large cache of ammunition and gunpowder which the Parisian mob needed in their struggle to overthrow the despotic feudal system.
Six weeks after the storming of the Bastille, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was proclaimed – one of the key foundations tones of rights many of us now take for granted.
My novel The Blue Rose is set during those tumultuous years in France.