Thursday Trivia (on Wednesday!): Bastille Day

The painting "Prise de la Bastille" by Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel, courtesy of the Wikipedia.

So today’s the 220th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in Paris, a key symbolic moment of the French Revolution. What many do not know about Bastille Day is that aside from sending a message and getting ammunition, there really wasn’t much reason to storm the joint. As a political prison, it was only holding seven prisoners, but as a garrison, it had about 30,000 pounds of gunpowder and shot.

Four more bits of trivia on Bastille Day after the jump!

  • The first Bastille Day (or, as they say in France, Fete de la Federacion) in 1790 was actually celebrated well outside Paris, in the town of Champ de Mars, which was populated by people who had left Paris after the first stage of the Revolution.
  • In the Department of Silly Anachronisms, the four-day (!) Bastille Day celebration in Milwaukee has a reenactment of the storming of the Bastille with a 43-foot Eiffel Tower looking on.
  • Possibly the best Bastille Day March since World War II? 1998 – when the triumphant French national soccer team returned from Italy with the World Cup Trophy. As my friend Ivan always jokes, “Liberte, Egalite, and Futbol Francais”.
  • The 1979 celebration in Paris holds the record for most people at an outdoor concert, with over one million in attendance. The artist? Jean Michel Jarre, a French techno performer. (Wha’?!)

And, though it’s not trivia, I always love this scene from Casablanca.

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One thought on “Thursday Trivia (on Wednesday!): Bastille Day

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