Better known for the infamous prison fortress that once stood nearby, Bastille is now a welcoming square that covers portions of three Paris neighborhoods, including the 4th, 11th and 12th arrondissements. A small column stands in the middle as monument to the obliterated structure, but there’s much more to this area than a complicated military history. Ask at your Paris hotel about performances by some of the best singers and dancers in the world at the Opera Bastille, or enjoy the lively nightlife surrounding the Bastille subway station.
Redeveloping the Bastille Square
The Bastille subway station connects many popular lines that crisscross not only Paris but all of France and beyond. Pop onto Line 1 and arrive at the Gare du Lyon, one of the six major terminals. Here, travelers find excellent Paris accommodations of all types, bustling boutiques and quintessential bistros, including Le Train Bleu, the original restaurant, which opened in 1901. Within Bastille Square itself, however, are many unique attractions, including outdoor concerts and seasonal events.
From the Gare du Lyon to Everywhere
The Bastille Station is certainly useful in getting to and from the many recreational options and hotels in Paris, but the Gare du Lyon is the best way to get in and out of the city. Skip the Bastille Metro and ride the RER for fast transport with fewer stops to great distances. When it comes to the Place de la Bastille, the square, visitors prefer walking languidly and enjoying the sights. Wear comfortable shoes and do like the locals.
Bastille on a Budget
French landmarks and tourist attractions are often pricey due to their popularity — and for good reason. However, exploring the Place de la Bastille is free, and the beautiful surroundings beg for a relaxing lunch in the square. Pack a classic Parisian meal with a baguette and brie, or get an entrée to go from the Le Train Bleu at the Gare du Lyon, and indulge in a picnic on the Boulevard de la Bastille.