Bastille Day, the French national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on 14 July 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The fact that the prison only held seven inmates at the time was not significant. It was the fact that the prison, in the centre of Paris, was a symbol of the King’s power and by capturing the prison, the people signaled to Louis XVI that his power was no longer absolute.
Le quatorze juillet (Bastille Day) was declared the French national holiday on 6 July 1880, by which time the Republic was firmly entrenched. Bastille Day has such a strong signification for the French because the holiday symbolizes the birth of the Republic.
In 1790 Lafayette gave the cast-iron, one-pound and three-ounce key to the Bastille to American President George Washington. The key remains on display at Washington's residence of Mount Vernon.
And this post came about because I thought about Bastille Day when I found this wonderful hankie while I was rummaging through a box in an antique shop recently! The famous Parisian landmarks are stitched using the tambour technique (chain stitch using a tambour hook).