The Bastille Square in Paris, is located exactly where the Bastille Fortress stood, symbolizing France's freedom as a people, after the monarchy was overthrown. It is located at a meeting point of three of the city's districts - the 4th, 11th and 12th. Locals refer to all the surrounding areas "Besti," for Bastille.
At the center of the Bastille Square is the July Column (Colonne de Juillet), a monument for remembrance of the July day during the Revolutionary War in 1830. From the square you can also see the Bastille Opera House, located where in the past the Bastille train station was located, the metro station "Bastille," and where the Canal Saint-Martin passes.
The North-Western part of the square is a big area for nightlife and there are often concerts, parades, and performances. The symbolic square often also hosts political demonstrations by trade unions and socialist movements, all praising the historical and symbolic significance of the Bastille.
Each Sunday a twenty kilometer roller skating tour departs from the Bastille. Only in extreme weather conditions this trip is canceled.
At this spot, on July 14, 1790, France's independence celebrations traditions began. It all started when someone erected a dancing tented area at the center of the Bastille ruins. This is how the 14th of July celebrations began.
Four years later, on 1794, a guillotine was placed in the center of the Antoine Square, the original name of the square. As per the resident's requests, the guillotine was removed pretty quickly, however this tradition continued - 73 people were beheaded here, during the revolution and afterwards as well.
After the ruins were cleared up, they were spread across France, as a symbol of the destruction of the Bastille and the monarchy it symbolized, that oppressed its people.
Years before that the Bastille Fortress was built in order to defend Paris. In the days of Louis the 14th it became a prison, where prisoners were held in rooms built around the 8 towers of the fortress. The prisoners were criminals, and also political opponents. For the people of France, this fortress became the symbol of cruelty and fear and oppression by the monarchy of France.