Storming of the Bastille
Overview
The storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris on the morning of 14 July 1789. The medieval fortress and prison in Paris known as the Bastille
Bastille
The Bastille was a fortress in Paris, known formally as the Bastille Saint-Antoine. It played an important role in the internal conflicts of France and for most of its history was used as a state prison by the kings of France. The Bastille was built in response to the English threat to the city of...

 represented royal authority in the centre of Paris. While the prison only contained seven inmates at the time of its storming, its fall was the flashpoint
Flashpoint (politics)
In international relations, a flashpoint is an area or dispute that has a strong possibility of developing into a war.-Current flashpoints:* the Taiwan straits* Korea peninsula* the Golan heights* Israeli-Lebanon border* Kashmir* the Spratly Islands...

 of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. In France, Le quatorze juillet (14 July) is a public holiday, formally known as the Fête de la Fédération
Fête de la Fédération
The Fête de la Fédération of the 14 July 1790 was a huge feast and official event to celebrate the establishment of the short-lived constitutional monarchy in France and what people of the time considered to be the happy conclusion of the French Revolution the outcome hoped for by the...

 (Federation Holiday).
Encyclopedia
The storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris on the morning of 14 July 1789. The medieval fortress and prison in Paris known as the Bastille
Bastille
The Bastille was a fortress in Paris, known formally as the Bastille Saint-Antoine. It played an important role in the internal conflicts of France and for most of its history was used as a state prison by the kings of France. The Bastille was built in response to the English threat to the city of...

 represented royal authority in the centre of Paris. While the prison only contained seven inmates at the time of its storming, its fall was the flashpoint
Flashpoint (politics)
In international relations, a flashpoint is an area or dispute that has a strong possibility of developing into a war.-Current flashpoints:* the Taiwan straits* Korea peninsula* the Golan heights* Israeli-Lebanon border* Kashmir* the Spratly Islands...

 of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. In France, Le quatorze juillet (14 July) is a public holiday, formally known as the Fête de la Fédération
Fête de la Fédération
The Fête de la Fédération of the 14 July 1790 was a huge feast and official event to celebrate the establishment of the short-lived constitutional monarchy in France and what people of the time considered to be the happy conclusion of the French Revolution the outcome hoped for by the...

 (Federation Holiday). It is usually called Bastille Day
Bastille Day
Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on 14 July of each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale and commonly le quatorze juillet...

 in English.

During the reign of Louis XVI
Louis XVI of France
Louis XVI was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793....

, France faced a major economic crisis
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

, initiated by the cost of intervening in the American Revolution
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 (and particularly never-consummated efforts to invade Britain), and exacerbated by a regressive system of taxation. On 5 May 1789 the Estates-General of 1789
Estates-General of 1789
The Estates-General of 1789 was the first meeting since 1614 of the French Estates-General, a general assembly representing the French estates of the realm: the nobility, the Church, and the common people...

 convened to deal with this issue, but were held back by archaic protocols and the conservatism of the Second Estate, consisting of the nobility and amounting to only 2% of France's population at the time. On 17 June 1789 the Third Estate, with its representatives drawn from the middle class, or bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

, reconstituted themselves as the National Assembly
National Assembly (French Revolution)
During the French Revolution, the National Assembly , which existed from June 17 to July 9, 1789, was a transitional body between the Estates-General and the National Constituent Assembly.-Background:...

, a body whose purpose was the creation of a French constitution. The king initially opposed this development, but was forced to acknowledge the authority of the assembly, which subsequently renamed itself the National Constituent Assembly
National Constituent Assembly
The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789, during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.-Background:...

 on 9 July.

The storming of the Bastille and the subsequent Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is a fundamental document of the French Revolution, defining the individual and collective rights of all the estates of the realm as universal. Influenced by the doctrine of "natural right", the rights of man are held to be universal: valid...

 was the third event of this opening stage of the revolution. The first had been the revolt of the nobility, refusing to aid King Louis XVI through the payment of taxes. The second had been the formation of the National Assembly and the Tennis Court Oath
Tennis Court Oath
The Tennis Court Oath was a pivotal event during the first days of the French Revolution. The Oath was a pledge signed by 576 of the 577 members from the Third Estate who were locked out of a meeting of the Estates-General on 20 June 1789...

.

The middle class had formed the National Guard, sporting tricolor cockade
Cockade
A cockade is a knot of ribbons, or other circular- or oval-shaped symbol of distinctive colors which is usually worn on a hat.-Eighteenth century:...

s (rosettes) of blue, white and red, formed by combining the red-and-blue cockade of the Paris commune
Paris Commune (French Revolution)
The Paris Commune during the French Revolution was the government of Paris from 1789 until 1795. Established in the Hôtel de Ville just after the storming of the Bastille, the Commune became insurrectionary in the summer of 1792, essentially refusing to take orders from the central French...

 and the white cockade of the king. These cockades, and soon simply their color scheme, became the symbol of the revolution and, later, of France itself.

Paris, close to insurrection, and, in François Mignet
François Mignet
François Auguste Marie Mignet was a French journalist and historian.-Biography:He was born in Aix-en-Provence , France. His father was a locksmith from the Vendée, who enthusiastically accepted the principles of the French Revolution and encouraged liberal ideas in his son...

's words, "intoxicated with liberty and enthusiasm," showed wide support for the Assembly. The press published the Assembly's debates; political debate spread beyond the Assembly itself into the public squares and halls of the capital. The Palais-Royal and its grounds became the site of an endless meeting. The crowd, on the authority of the meeting at the Palais-Royal, broke open the prisons of the Abbaye
Prison de l'Abbaye
The prison de l’Abbaye was a Paris prison in use from 1522 to 1854. The final building was built by Gamard in 1631 and made up of three floors, flanked by two turrets and an échauguette...

 to release some grenadiers of the French guards, reportedly imprisoned for refusing to fire on the people. The Assembly recommended the imprisoned guardsmen to the clemency of the king; they returned to prison, and received pardon. The rank and file of the regiment, previously considered reliable, now leaned toward the popular cause.

Necker's dismissal

On 11 July 1789, with troops at Versailles
Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

, Sèvres
Sèvres
Sèvres is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris.The town is known for its porcelain manufacture, the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, making the famous Sèvres porcelain, as well as being the location of the International Bureau of Weights...

, the Champ de Mars
Champ de Mars
The Champ de Mars is a large public greenspace in Paris, France, located in the seventh arrondissement, between the Eiffel Tower to the northwest and the École Militaire to the southeast. The park is named after the Campus Martius in Rome, a tribute to the Roman god of war...

, and Saint-Denis, Louis XVI, acting under the influence of the conservative nobles of his privy council
Privy council
A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...

, dismissed and banished his finance minister, Jacques Necker
Jacques Necker
Jacques Necker was a French statesman of Swiss birth and finance minister of Louis XVI, a post he held in the lead-up to the French Revolution in 1789.-Early life:...

, who had been sympathetic to the Third Estate, and completely reconstructed the ministry. The marshal Victor-François, duc de Broglie
Victor-François, 2nd duc de Broglie
Victor François de Broglie, 2nd duc de Broglie was a French aristocrat and soldier and a marshal of France...

, la Galissonnière, the duc de la Vauguyon, the Baron Louis de Breteuil
Louis Auguste Le Tonnelier de Breteuil
Louis Charles Auguste le Tonnelier, baron de Breteuil, baron de Preuilly was a French aristocrat, diplomat, statesman and politician...

, and the intendant Foulon, took over the posts of Puységur
Louis Pierre de Chastenet de Puységur
Louis Pierre de Chastenet, comte de Puységur was a French soldier under the Ancien Regime. A lieutenant général from 1781, he became minister of war in the ministry of Jacques Necker, from 30 November 1788 to 12 July 1789. Replaced by Victor-François, 2nd duc de Broglie, he received marks of...

, Armand Marc, comte de Montmorin
Armand Marc, comte de Montmorin
Armand Marc, comte de Montmorin de Saint Herem was a French statesman. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Navy under Louis XVI....

, La Luzerne
César Guillaume de La Luzerne
César-Guillaume La Luzerne was a French cardinal.-Life:He studied at the Collège de Navarre, and rose, through the influence of his kinsmen Lamoignon, to the See of Langres , thus becoming duke and peer of France. In that capacity he took part in the Assemblée des Notables and in the Etats-Généraux...

, Saint-Priest
François-Emmanuel Guignard, comte de Saint-Priest
François-Emmanuel Guignard, comte de Saint-Priest , was a French politician and diplomat during the Ancien Régime and French Revolution.-Early career:...

, and Necker.

News of Necker's dismissal reached Paris in the afternoon of Sunday, 12 July. The Parisians generally presumed that the dismissal marked the start of a coup by conservative elements. Liberal Parisians were further enraged by the fear that a concentration of Royal troops brought to Versailles from frontier garrisons would attempt to shut down the National Constituent Assembly
National Constituent Assembly
The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789, during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.-Background:...

, which was meeting in Versailles. Crowds gathered throughout Paris, including more than ten thousand at the Palais-Royal. Camille Desmoulins
Camille Desmoulins
Lucie Simplice Camille Benoît Desmoulins was a journalist and politician who played an important role in the French Revolution. He was a childhood friend of Maximilien Robespierre and a close friend and political ally of Georges Danton, who were influential figures in the French Revolution.-Early...

, a known freemason
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 from the lodge of the Nine Sisters
Les Neuf Sœurs
Loge Les Neuf Sœurs , established in Paris in 1776, was a prominent French Masonic Lodge of the Grand Orient de France that was influential in organising French support for the American Revolution. A "Société des Neuf Sœurs," a charitable society that surveyed academic curricula, had been active at...

, according to Mignet, successfully rallied the crowd by "mounting a table, pistol in hand, exclaiming: Citizens, there is no time to lose; the dismissal of Necker is the knell of a Saint Bartholomew
St. Bartholomew's Day massacre
The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 was a targeted group of assassinations, followed by a wave of Roman Catholic mob violence, both directed against the Huguenots , during the French Wars of Religion...

 for patriots! This very night all the Swiss and German battalions will leave the Champ de Mars to massacre us all; one resource is left; to take arms!'"

The Swiss and German regiments referred to were among the foreign mercenary
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 troops who made up a significant portion of the pre-revolutionary Royal Army, and were seen as being less likely to be sympathetic to the popular cause than ordinary French soldiers. By early July, approximately half of the 25,000 regular troops concentrated around Paris and Versailles were drawn from these foreign regiments.

During the public demonstrations that started on 12 July the multitude displayed busts of Necker and of Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans commonly known as Philippe, was a member of a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, the ruling dynasty of France. He actively supported the French Revolution and adopted the name Philippe Égalité, but was nonetheless guillotined during the Reign of Terror...

. The crowd clashed with the Royal German Cavalry Regiment ("Royal-Allemande") between the Place Vendôme
Place Vendôme
Place Vendôme is a square in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France, located to the north of the Tuileries Gardens and east of the Église de la Madeleine. It is the starting point of the Rue de la Paix. Its regular architecture by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and pedimented screens canted across the...

 and the Tuileries Palace
Tuileries Palace
The Tuileries Palace was a royal palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine until 1871, when it was destroyed in the upheaval during the suppression of the Paris Commune...

. The Royal commander, Baron de Besenval
Pierre Victor Besenval de Bronstatt
Pierre Victor, baron de Besenval de Brünstatt was the last commander of the Swiss Guards in France.Born at Solothurn, he was the son of Jean Victor de Besenval, colonel of the regiment of Swiss Guards in the pay of France, who was charged in 1707 by Louis XIV with a mission to Sweden to reconcile...

, fearing the results a blood bath amongst the poorly armed crowds or defections amongst his own men, withdrew the cavalry towards Sèvres. Meanwhile, unrest was growing among the people of Paris who due to their hostility against the Fiscal Legislation of State's Farmers, started attacking customs posts blamed for causing increased food and wine prices. The people of Paris started to plunder any place where food, guns and supplies could be hoarded. The next day, on 13 July, rumours spread that supplies were being hoarded at Saint-Lazare, a huge property of the clergy, which functioned as convent, hospital, school and even as a jail. An angry mob broke in and plundered the property, seizing 52 wagons of wheat which were taken to the public market. That same day multitudes of people plundered many other places including weapon arsenals. The Royal troops did nothing to stop the spreading of social chaos in Paris during those days.

Armed conflict

The regiment of Gardes Françaises
Gardes Françaises
The Gardes Françaises was one of the two non-ceremonial infantry regiments in the "Maison du Roi" of the French Army under the Ancien Régime. The other regiment was the Gardes Suisses, which made the Gardes Françaises the only one recruited from France.-History:The regiment was created in 1563 by...

 (French Guards) formed the permanent garrison of Paris and with many local ties was favourably disposed towards the popular cause. This regiment had remained confined to its barracks during the initial stages of the mid-July disturbances. With Paris becoming the scene of a general riot, Charles Eugene, Prince of Lambesc
Charles Eugene, Prince of Lambesc
Charles Eugène of Lorraine was a member of the House of Guise, a cadet branch of the House of Lorraine, he was an officer in the French and Habsburg military during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars....

 (Marshal of the Camp, Proprietor of the Royal Allemand-Dragoons), not trusting the regiment to obey his order, posted sixty dragoons to station themselves before its dépôt in the Chaussée d'Antin
Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin
The rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin, in the IXe arrondissement of Paris was the street that gave this new quarter of Paris its generic name. It runs north-northwest from the Boulevard des Italiens to the Église de la Sainte-Trinité sited to provide a focal object at its upper end...

. Once again, a measure intended to restrain only served to provoke. The French Guards regiment routed the cavalry, killing two, wounding three, and putting the rest to flight. The officers of the French Guards made ineffectual attempts to rally their men. The rebellious citizenry had now acquired a trained military contingent. As word of this spread, the commanders of the royal forces encamped on the Champ de Mars became doubtful of the dependability of even the foreign regiments. The future "Citizen King", Louis-Phillipe, duc d'Orléans
Louis-Philippe of France
Louis Philippe I was King of the French from 1830 to 1848 in what was known as the July Monarchy. His father was a duke who supported the French Revolution but was nevertheless guillotined. Louis Philippe fled France as a young man and spent 21 years in exile, including considerable time in the...

, witnessed these events as a young officer and was of the opinion that the soldiers would have obeyed orders if put to the test. He also commented in retrospect that the officers of the French Guards had neglected their responsibilities in the period before the uprising, leaving the regiment too much to the control of its non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

s. However the uncertain leadership of Besenval
Pierre Victor Besenval de Bronstatt
Pierre Victor, baron de Besenval de Brünstatt was the last commander of the Swiss Guards in France.Born at Solothurn, he was the son of Jean Victor de Besenval, colonel of the regiment of Swiss Guards in the pay of France, who was charged in 1707 by Louis XIV with a mission to Sweden to reconcile...

 led to a virtual abdication of royal authority in central Paris.

Storming the Bastille

On the morning of 14 July 1789, the city of Paris was in a state of alarm. The demonstrators, led by Amaria Cahila of the third estate in France, had earlier stormed the Hôtel des Invalides
Les Invalides
Les Invalides , officially known as L'Hôtel national des Invalides , is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's...

 to gather arms (29,000 to 32,000 muskets, but without powder or shot), and were mainly seeking to acquire the large quantities of arms and ammunition stored at the Bastille. On the 14th there were over 13600 kilograms (29,982.9 lb) of gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 stored there.

At this point, the Bastille was nearly empty of prisoners, housing only seven old men annoyed by all the disturbance: four forgers
Forgery
Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. Forging money or...

, two "lunatics" and one "deviant" aristocrat, the comte de Solages (the Marquis de Sade
Marquis de Sade
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle...

 had been transferred out ten days earlier). The cost of maintaining a medieval fortress and garrison for so limited a purpose had led to a decision being taken to close it, shortly before the disturbances began. It was, however, a symbol of royal tyranny.

The regular garrison consisted of 82 invalides (veteran soldiers no longer suitable for service in the field). It had however been reinforced on 7 July by 32 grenadiers of the Swiss Salis-Samade Regiment from the troops on the Champ de Mars. The walls mounted eighteen eight-pound guns and twelve smaller pieces. The governor was Bernard-René de Launay
Bernard-René de Launay
Bernard René Jourdan, marquis de Launay was the French governor of the Bastille, the son of a previous governor, and commander of its garrison when it was stormed on 14 July 1789 .-Early life:...

, son of the previous governor and actually born within the Bastille.
The list of vainqueurs de la Bastille has 954 names, and the total of the crowd was probably fewer than one thousand. The crowd gathered outside around mid-morning, calling for the surrender of the prison, the removal of the guns and the release of the arms and gunpowder. Two representatives of the crowd outside were invited into the fortress and negotiations began, and another was admitted around noon with definite demands. The negotiations dragged on while the crowd grew and became impatient. Around 13:30 the crowd surged into the undefended outer courtyard, and the chains on the drawbridge
Drawbridge
A drawbridge is a type of movable bridge typically associated with the entrance of a castle surrounded by a moat. The term is often used to describe all different types of movable bridges, like bascule bridges and lift bridges.-Castle drawbridges:...

 to the inner courtyard were cut, crushing one unfortunate vainqueur. About this time gunfire began, though some stories state that the Governor had a cannon fire into the crowd killing several women, children, and men turning the crowd into a mob. The crowd seemed to have felt it had been drawn into a trap and the fighting became more violent and intense, while attempts by deputies to organize a cease-fire were ignored by the attackers.

The firing continued, and at 15:00 the attackers were reinforced by mutinous gardes françaises and other deserters from among the regular troops, along with two cannons. A substantial force of Royal Army troops encamped on the nearby Champs de Mars did not intervene. With the possibility of a mutual massacre suddenly apparent Governor de Launay ordered a cease fire at 17:00. A letter offering his terms was handed out to the besiegers through a gap in the inner gate. His demands were refused, but de Launay nonetheless capitulated, as he realized that his troops could not hold out much longer; he opened the gates to the inner courtyard, and the vainqueurs swept in to liberate the fortress at 17:30.

Ninety-eight attackers and one defender had died in the actual fighting. De Launay was seized and dragged towards the Hôtel de Ville
Hôtel de Ville, Paris
The Hôtel de Ville |City Hall]]) in :Paris, France, is the building housing the City of Paris's administration. Standing on the place de l'Hôtel de Ville in the city's IVe arrondissement, it has been the location of the municipality of Paris since 1357...

 in a storm of abuse. Outside the Hôtel a discussion as to his fate began. The badly beaten de Launay shouted "Enough! Let me die!" and kicked a pastry cook named Dulait in the groin. De Launay was then stabbed repeatedly and fell, and his head was sawed off and fixed on a pike
Pike (weapon)
A pike is a pole weapon, a very long thrusting spear used extensively by infantry both for attacks on enemy foot soldiers and as a counter-measure against cavalry assaults. Unlike many similar weapons, the pike is not intended to be thrown. Pikes were used regularly in European warfare from the...

 to be carried through the streets. The three officers of the permanent Bastille garrison were also killed by the crowd; surviving police reports detail their wounds and clothing. Two of the invalides of the garrison were lynched, but all but two of the Swiss regulars of the Salis-Samade Regiment were protected by the French Guards and eventually released to return to their regiment. Their officer, Lieutenant Louis de Flue, wrote a detailed report on the defense of the Bastille which was incorporated in the logbook of the Salis-Samade and has survived. It is (perhaps unfairly) critical of the dead Marquis de Launay, whom de Flue accuses of weak and indecisive leadership. The blame for the fall of the Bastille would rather appear to lie with the inertia of the commanders of the substantial force of Royal Army troops encamped on the Champs de Mars, who made no effort to intervene when the nearby Hôtel des Invalides or the Bastille were attacked.

Returning to the Hôtel de Ville, the mob accused the prévôt ès marchands (roughly, mayor) Jacques de Flesselles
Jacques de Flesselles
Jacques de Flesselles was a French public servant and one of the first victims of the French Revolution.On 21 April 1789, after serving as Intendant of Lyon , he became the last provost of the merchants of Paris, a post roughly equivalent to mayor...

 of treachery, and he was assassinated en route to an ostensible trial at the Palais-Royal.

Aftermath

The citizenry of Paris, expecting a counterattack, entrenched the streets, built barricades of paving stones, and armed themselves as well as they could, especially with improvised pikes. Meanwhile, at Versailles, the Assembly remained ignorant of most of the Paris events, but eminently aware that Marshal de Broglie stood on the brink of unleashing a pro-Royalist coup to force the Assembly to adopt the order of 23 June and then to dissolve. The viscomte de Noailles
Louis-Marie, vicomte de Noailles
Louis-Marie, vicomte de Noailles was the second son of Philippe, duc de Mouchy, and a member of Mouchy branch of the famous Noailles family of the French aristocracy....

 apparently first brought reasonably accurate news of the Paris events to Versailles. M. Ganilh and Bancal-des-Issarts, dispatched to the Hôtel de Ville, confirmed his report.

By the morning of 15 July the outcome appeared clear to the king as well, and he and his military commanders backed down. The Royal troops concentrated around Paris were dispersed to their frontier garrisons. The Marquis de la Fayette took up command of the National Guard at Paris; Jean-Sylvain Bailly – leader of the Third Estate and instigator of the Tennis Court Oath
Tennis Court Oath
The Tennis Court Oath was a pivotal event during the first days of the French Revolution. The Oath was a pledge signed by 576 of the 577 members from the Third Estate who were locked out of a meeting of the Estates-General on 20 June 1789...

 – became the city's mayor under a new governmental structure known as the Commune de Paris
Paris Commune (French Revolution)
The Paris Commune during the French Revolution was the government of Paris from 1789 until 1795. Established in the Hôtel de Ville just after the storming of the Bastille, the Commune became insurrectionary in the summer of 1792, essentially refusing to take orders from the central French...

. The king announced that he would recall Necker and return from Versailles to Paris; on 27 July, in Paris, he accepted a tricolor
Flag of France
The national flag of France is a tricolour featuring three vertical bands coloured royal blue , white, and red...

 cockade
Cockade
A cockade is a knot of ribbons, or other circular- or oval-shaped symbol of distinctive colors which is usually worn on a hat.-Eighteenth century:...

 from Bailly and entered the Hôtel de Ville, as cries of "Long live the King" were changed to "Long live the Nation".

Nonetheless, after this violence, nobles – little assured by the apparent and, as it was to prove, temporary reconciliation of king and people – started to flee the country as émigré
Émigré
Émigré is a French term that literally refers to a person who has "migrated out", but often carries a connotation of politico-social self-exile....

s. Early émigrés included the comte d'Artois (the future Charles X of France
Charles X of France
Charles X was known for most of his life as the Comte d'Artois before he reigned as King of France and of Navarre from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. A younger brother to Kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile and eventually succeeded him...

) and his two sons, the prince de Condé, the prince de Conti, the Polignac
Gabrielle de Polastron, duchesse de Polignac
Yolande Martine Gabrielle de Polastron, Duchess of Polignac was the favourite of Marie Antoinette, whom she first met when she was presented at the Palace of Versailles in 1775, the year after Marie Antoinette became the Queen of France...

 family, and (slightly later) Charles Alexandre de Calonne
Charles Alexandre de Calonne
Charles Alexandre, vicomte de Calonne was a French statesman, best known for his involvement in the French Revolution.-Rise to prominence:...

, the former finance minister. They settled at Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, where Calonne, as agent for the count d'Artois and the prince de Condé, began plotting civil war within the kingdom and agitating for a European coalition against France.

The successful insurrection at Paris spread throughout France. In accord with principles of popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people is the political principle that the legitimacy of the state is created and sustained by the will or consent of its people, who are the source of all political power. It is closely associated with Republicanism and the social contract...

 and with complete disregard for claims of royal authority, the people created a parallel structure of municipalities for civic government and militia for civic protection. In rural areas, many went beyond this: some burned title-deeds and no small number of châteaux, as the "Great Fear
Great Fear
The "Great Fear" occurred from 20 July to 5 August 1789 in France at the start of the French Revolution. Rural unrest had been present in France since the worsening grain shortage of the spring, and the grain supplies were now guarded by local militias as rumors that bands of armed men were...

" spread across the countryside during the weeks of 20 July to 5 August, with attacks on wealthy landlords impelled by the belief that the aristocracy was trying to put down the revolution.

Pierre-François Palloy
Pierre-François Palloy
Pierre-François Palloy , self styled as Patriote Palloy was an entrepreneurial building contractor remembered for the demolition of the Bastille.-Biography:...

 was given the commission of disassembling the building and commenced work immediately.

Austrian composer Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
----August Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf was an Austrian composer, violinist and silvologist.-1739-1764:...

 wrote his Symphony in C Major as a tribute to the event. The first movement of the piece is known as La Prise De La Bastille.

In Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With well over 200 million copies sold, it ranks among the most famous works in the history of fictional literature....

, the Defarges help lead the assault on the Bastille, during the second book.

As an interesting historical footnote, the key to the Bastille now resides in George Washington's residence of Mount Vernon. It was sent to him by Lafayette in 1790 as a peace offering.

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