Storming of the Bastille


The Storming of the Bastille was a decisive moment in the early months of the French Revolution (1789-1799). On 14 July 1789, the Bastille, a fortress and political prison symbolizing the oppressiveness of France’s Ancien Régime was attacked by a crowd mainly consisting of sans-culottes, or lower classes. The anniversary is still celebrated in France as the country’s national holiday.

More about: Storming of the Bastille


  • c. 1400
    The fortress of the Bastille in Paris is converted into a state prison.
  • 27 Jun 1789
    France's three estates are reconciled into a unified National Assembly; the Estates-General concludes.
  • c. Jul 1789 - c. Nov 1789
    The Bastille fortress, symbol of the tyranny of the French monarchy, is demolished.
  • 9 Jul 1789
    The National Assembly asks King Louis XVI of France to withdraw the troops concentrated around Paris. He refuses.
  • 11 Jul 1789
    Jacques Necker, popular Chief Minister of France, is fired from King Louis XVI's cabinet for a second time and ordered into exile.
  • 12 Jul 1789 - 14 Jul 1789
    The dismissal of Jacques Necker causes over 6,000 Parisians to take to the streets. They fight with soldiers, burn toll booths, and raid armories and gunsmiths for weapons.
  • 14 Jul 1789
    The Bastille in Paris is stormed.
  • 16 Jul 1789
    The Comte d'Artois, Louis XVI's brother, flees Versailles with other royalists after the Storming of the Bastille, becoming the first wave of emigres to flee the French Revolution.
  • 14 Jul 1790
    The Fete de la Federation is celebrated in France to mark the first anniversary of the fall of the Bastille; the first time 14 July is celebrated as a national holiday.