The Bastille – Paris

The Arch d’Triomphe, Paris (nowhere near the Bastille)

 

WOEFULTOURIST has always had a soft spot in his heart for the old swashbuckler movies.

Captain Blood, starring Errol Flynn remains one of his favorite movies of all time.  It also happens to be one of the dozen books he has actually read in his lifetime, so it must be special.

Another of his favorites is The Three Musketeers – not the 1948 version with Gene Kelly (yes, that Gene Kelly).

And not the 1993 version with Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland (yes that Charlie Sheen).

Rather, the 1973 version with Michael York, Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch and Charlton Heston (yes that Raquel Welch).

Now that was some pairing.

WOEFULTOURIST loves all the pomp and circumstance of those kind of films.  And of course all of the swordfighting.  All for one, and all of that.  Where in the end, the good guys got Raquel Welch while the bad guys got to spend the rest of their days in that most evil of prisons, the Bastille.

Just the thought of it makes WOEFULTOURIST all excited.

So it was with heightened enthusiasm that he made his way to the site of the famed fortress on his first trip to Paris.

This would truly be the highlight of his trip. With camera in hand, and extra batteries in his pocket, WOEFULTOURIST made his way to the 4th, 11th and 12th Arondissements to the Place de La Bastille where he excitedly anticipated his first encounter with the fabled prison.

But when he arrived where the Bastille was supposed to be, it wasn’t there.  Only a little plaque that essentially said, “The Bastille used to be right here.”

Which after a brief moment of outrage, where two AA batteries were stomped into flatness, seemed somehow appropriate to his oddball sensibilities.

After all it was the “storming” of the Bastille which is considered the French version of our Battle of Lexington and Concorde – i.e. the start of their Revolution.

“Storming” in this case meaning that they broke in, freed the 7 prisoners still there, stole – er, repatriated anything they could find of value, then basically destroyed the place.

Given his distaste for spending precious vacation time to look at “ruins”, WOEFULTOURIST was grateful that there were no actual parts of the structure still standing.

If it wasn’t completely intact then he didn’t want any part of it.  And logic says that it couldn’t be intact if it was destroyed two hundred years ago.

No, ‘tis a far far better thing to have made a plaque, than a rebuilt version of the original.

So, although he was somewhat disappointed that the plastic Star Wars light saber battle that he and his sons had carefully choreographed to take place within the walls of the Bastille was not to be, WOEFULTOURIST was nevertheless filled with optimism.

Because he knew, in his heart of hearts, there just had to be another appropriate venue where the three of them could cross light sabers, successfully, in the City of Lights.

Perhaps Notre Dame.

Or the Arch d’Triomphe.

Or the Eiffel Tower.

So many choices, so little time.

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