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Bastille

A lively sidewalk scene is guaranteed at Place de la Bastille, but the only reminder of the infamous prison is a 160-foot bronze column, the Colonne de Juilliet. The spire was erected 31 years after the Revolution, to commemorate the Revolution of 1830—when the reign of Charles X ended and the advent of France’s “citizen-king” Louis-Philippe began. Names of the some 500 people who died in the revolution are etched in the bronze. Atop the column is a 16-foot gilded figure, “The Spirit of Freedom,” looking sprite, balanced on one foot, winged, and holding a torch. Hundreds of people are buried beneath the column, from the 1830 revolution and from yet another uprising in 1848. Mostly traffic storms it now. Watch it crossing on bicycle or on foot.

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