Bastille metro station is something out of the ordinary.  Where the eastbound platform of line 1 has a view over the boats and bridges of the Port de l’Arsenal, the westbound platform has a lesson in revolutionary history.

Installed in 1989, on the 200th anniversary of the first French Revolution, the 130m long tile mural sets the scene for the revolution with references to the scientific and philosophcal progress of the times.   The convocation of the Etats Généraux (at which the newly influential middle class lobbied for equal representation with the aristocracy and the clergy), leads on to the storming of the Bastille, the declaration of the Rights of Man and the high principles of the Constitution.  The next section of the history gets more confusing, partly in keeping with the chaos of the times, partly because the mural wasn’t planned to allow space for metro direction signs, so parts of the story are hidden. Finally, after the anarchy of The Terror, peace and reason are restored, in a dark corner at the far end of the platform.

 

 

The mural was created by artists Liliane Bélembert and Odile Jacquot in collaboration with ceramicist Le Boulanger.

Click on any photo to view the gallery.