Begun in 1369, it was originally intended to augment the city's defenses, though by the XVIIth century it was being used as a prison. Voltaire and the Marquis de Sade were among its most famous inmates. On July 13, 1789, exhorted "to arms" by a young lawyer, Camille Desmoulins, a mob gathered outside the Bastille, that frowning fortress whose guns were menacingly directed on the poor quarter of the Faubourg St-Antoine which surrounded it. On the following day, July 14, which marks the beginning of the French Revolution, the agitated crowd returned and filled the Bastille's outer courts, which had been left unguarded.
The bastille Opera The Bastille Opera building was opened on July 14, 1989 during the celebrations of the French revolution. The building was meant to be a modern and democratic opera building with its auditorium seating 2700 people. The design by Carlos Ott, contrasts starkly with its environment.