The Place de la Bastille

BookThe Place de la Bastille

The Place de la Bastille

The Story of a Quartier


May 1st, 2011

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Epicentre of the Revolution of 1789, erstwhile bastion of the skilled working-class and centre of radical agitation, along with Pigalle and Montmartre a focus for popular and raffish night-life in the early twentieth century, the Bastille area of Eastern Paris (also known as the Faubourg Saint-Antoine) is now an ethnically and socially mixed quartier which still bears the traces of its previous avatars. In a fascinating tour, Keith Reader charts the history and cultural geography of this unique area of Paris, from the fortress and prison that gave the area its name to the building of the largest and costliest opera house in the world.

A fascinating tour of one of the most historically rich areas of Paris.

Explores the Bastille area from its explosive role in the revolution through to today’s open air markets and cafes.

Builds upon Andrew Hussey’s 'Paris: The Secret History' as a book for the general reader and includes maps of the area for visitors.

A wonderful piece of work that cuts a new path through French studies. Using topography to bring history, anthropology, literature and the arts into a single focus, the book is also a guide or mode d'emploi for each and all who have affection for Paris and, more broadly, gallic culture.

Tom Conley, Harvard University

'A well-argued, thoroughly-researched and scholarly work, it is vibrant and readable enough to interest a readership from outside the academic community from which Reader comes.'
Urban Landfill

The book will be a useful reference work for students of literary and cinematic representations. It also fills a niche as a historical survey of an area that has played major roles in the political, economic, and leisure life of Paris.
French History

This in-depth study of the Place de la Bastille and its surroundings is a welcome addition to the study of the cultural history of Paris. The work is made even more appealing by the literary and cinematic depictions of the life in the quartier. The final chapter’s detailed description of present-day streetscapes is useful for visitors, who may now approach the area with a more informed attitude.
Alice J. Strange, French Review, 85.4

Author Information

Keith Reader is Visiting Emeritus Professor at the University of London Institute in Paris. His previous books include 'The Place de la Bastille: The Story of a Quartier' (LUP, 2011), 'French Cinema : A Student’s Guide' (Longman, 2003) and 'The Papin Sisters' (OUP, 2001).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Introduction: The Place de la Bastille8
1 ‘What’s that poor creature doing here?’: the area and the fortress before the Revolution of 178927
2 ‘Thought blew the Bastille apart’: the fall of the fortress and the revolutionary years, 1789–181538
3 ‘The strategy of the generals of Africa shattered’: the Restoration, Orleanist and Second Republic Years, 1815–185151
4 ‘Where is the noise of the storm that I love?’: The Second Empire from Haussmann to the Commune71
5 ‘Satan’s bagpipes’: La Belle Époque’s forty-three years of peace80
6 ‘Villains, stars and everybody in between’: The First War and the entre-deux guerres96
7 ‘Slicked hair and splendid sideburns’: Occupation and Liberation115
8 ‘Let’s have some sun!’: post-Gaullism and the Mitterrand years128
9 ‘A building, not a monument’: the construction of the Bastille Opéra137
10 ‘A real earthquake’: the impact of the Opéra on the quartier143
11 Flânerie in the archive: the Faubourg/Bastille today156