Image: "The Storming of the Bastille" by Jean-Pierre Houël, 1789
What is Bastille Day?
Bastille Day celebrates the birth of the French Republic and marks the storming of the Bastille in 1789. It is a public holiday on 14 July in France.
8 Facts about Bastille Day
Over one hundred people died in the storming of the Bastille, but only seven prisoners were actually being held in the Bastille at the time. This included four forgers and two lunatics.
One freed prisoner is said to have refused to go until he had finished his roast pheasant dinner
After the storming of the Bastille, its main key was given to the Marquis de Lafayette who later gave it to George Washington
When the Bastille was demolished, a developer made a fortune selling off pieces as souvenirs
The Bastille was originally a royal state prison built in the 1370s to defend Paris from the English during the Hundred Years War
One of the lunatics was an Anglo-Irish man named De Witt (or Whyte) who variously believed that he was either Julius Caesar, St. Louis, or God
The rooster is a widely used symbol of France. The symbol drives from a Roman pun - the Latin word 'Gallus' means both 'rooster' and 'inhabitant of Gaul', the roman name for France.
From 1814 to 1830, during the Bourbon restoration, France's flag was plain white.
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