Spanning the 4th, 11th and 12th arrondissements of Paris, the big Place de la Bastille was a major site of the French Revolution, marked by the famous taking of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 which led to the end of the absolute monarchy in France. The perimeter of the old prison-fortress destroyed during the revolutionary period can in fact still be seen on the ground, and remnants of its foundations can be seen at the Metro station that serves the square. To celebrate the bicentenary of the Revolution, a modern opera house by the Canadian architect Carlos Ott was inaugurated in 1989. Not far from there, at the centre of the square, you can also see the famous July Column and its gilded bronze sculpture of the Spirit of Freedom, a group which is now a listed Historic Monument, built in the 19th century to commemorate the Three Glorious Days of 1830 and the overthrowing of Charles X's monarchy.
Yet while Place de la Bastille has a great historic legacy, it also enjoys a particularly lively nightlife scene. Many cafes, restaurants, cinemas and nightclubs keep the district bustling. The site also hosts many celebrations, like the great ball of 13 July, the Gay Pride parade and concerts. What's more, a market full of colours and flavours (one of the biggest in Paris) takes place along the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir every Thursday and Sunday morning!