The Bastille was built to defend the eastern approach to the city of Paris from the English threat in the Hundred Years’ War. Louis XIV used the Bastille as a prison for upper-class members of French society who had opposed or angered him including, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, French Protestants. From 1659 onwards, the Bastille functioned primarily as a state penitentiary; by 1789, 5,279 prisoners had passed through its gates. Almost nothing is left of the Bastille except some remains of its stone foundation that were relocated to the side of the Boulevard Henri IV. Historians were critical of the Bastille in the early 19th century, and believe the fortress to have been a relatively well-administered institution, but deeply implicated in the system of French policing and political control during the 18th century. (stolen from Wikipedia)
Now the Bastille area is filled with great shopping and cafes.
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