Antiques are a tangible testament to an era and French antiques are incredibly rich in history. On the 14th of July, France celebrates Bastille Day. This is the French National holiday that marks the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Bastille Day was the flashpoint of the French Revolution and was an exciting time of change and creativity that had a big impact on our society today. Let’s celebrate the past by sharing history and acknowledging the impact it had on our modern lives.
The French Revolution took place in France in its colonies from 1789 to 1799. During this time the people overthrew the monarchy and established a republic. The Storming of the Bastille happened in Paris, France on the afternoon of July 14th, 1789. The Bastille, a political prison and fortress, represented the royal authority in the center of Paris. It was seen by the revolutionaries as a symbol of the monarchy's abuses of power so its fall was the ignition point of the French Revolution.
The French Revolution had an enormous impact. Before the Revolution, the people were voiceless. The kings, nobles and church held all the power and ruled from a distance at Versailles. During the first year of the revolution, the people’s National Guard took control and the French army became helpless. The revolution stripped the nobility of their power and the king was turned into merely a figurehead.
Source: Discover Walks
The central element of the French Revolution is summed up in the slogan "liberté, égalité, fraternité", French for “liberty, equality, fraternity”. The basic aspects of the modern French Republic are based on these Revolutionary foundations. The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France. Napoleon partially carried it forward during his expansion of the French Empire. While Napoleon was an absolute dictator, he brought the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. The Napoleonic Wars planted the seeds for the industrialization of Western Europe, replacing the messy, Byzantine law of the Ancient regime. These modern, coherent regulations still influence European bureaucracy today.
Image: “The Rue Montargueil with Flags, 1878, Claude Monet ”
The French Revolution profoundly effected European culture by creating the notion of a modern nation, paving the way for cultural and political changes as well as laying the foundations for the modern French Republic. It also ushered in Romanticism in the arts and literature and impacted the decor style for this period. The ornate style of the monarchy was replaced with a more subdued style. This incorporated geometric shapes and carvings and including Egyptian themes, such as animals and women draped in flowing fabric.
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If you happen to be in Paris on July 14th you should definitely go to Champs Elysees to celebrate Bastille Day. The French celebrate with pride, dressing in red, white and blue, setting off fireworks and singing the Marseillaise (the French anthem) after enjoying a few celebratory glasses of champagne.