11 Remnants of the Bastille You Can Still See Today

Wikimedia Commons

On July 14, 1789, the French Revolution began with the storming of the Bastille prison. The Bastille has become such an important historical symbol that visitors to Paris seeking to get a look inside the fortress are often surprised to discover that it’s no longer there—it was demolished soon after its fall. But there are still a few places where you can see a piece of the original.

1. Model Carved From Original Stone at the Musée Carnavalet

Pierre-François Palloy, otherwise known as the first capitalist entrepreneur of the French Revolution, secured the contract to oversee the dismantling of the Bastille and immediately began collecting objects and materials from the structure to sell as souvenirs. He also presented objects as gifts to various organizations and dignitaries. Many have disappeared or are still in private hands, but the Musée Carnavalet in Paris has some of these objects, including this model of the Bastille carved from a Bastille stone.

2. Medals and other objects at the Musée Carnavalet


The Musée Carnavalet has various other small objects Palloy fashioned from Bastille materials, among them medals said to be cast from the chains that once held prisoners there. This one is signed, as many of his pieces are, “Palloy the Patriot.”

3. Stone at Thonon-les-Bains


Palloy sent inscribed stones to all the districts of the new French republic. Many of them were lost over the tumultuous next decades, but some can still be seen. This stone in the town of Thonon-les-Bains on Lake Geneva was hidden away during the Restoration in 1815, and was later found, badly damaged, in a garden before being installed in a wall of the old castle of Thonon.

4. Stone at the Hotel de Ville in Pontoise

Wikimedia Commons

This Bastille stone, in which is set a copy of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, can be seen at the Hotel de Ville in this suburb of Paris.

5. Clock at the Musée d’Art Campanaire

Wikimedia Commons

The Musée d’Art Campanaire (a museum of clockworks and carillons) in L’Isle-Jordain ended up with the clock bells and pulley system from the Bastille.

6. Stones of the Pont de la Concorde

Wikimedia Commons

Much of the masonry rubble not made into souvenirs went into the construction of this sturdy bridge over the Seine.

7. Tower Stones at Square Henri-Galli

Wikimedia Commons

During excavations for construction of the Paris Metro in 1899, stones from one of the Bastille’s eight towers were discovered and later moved to a park for display. They can still be seen, looking rather modest, at Square Henri-Galli.

8. Outline on Rue Saint Antoine

Wikimedia Commons

If you go to the place where the Bastille once stood, you won’t see any of the original structure, but you can see the ground it covered. The perimeter of the fortress is outlined in paving stones in the street.

9. Outline in Bastille metro platform


The outline of the original moat walls are also traced underground, on the metro platform.

10. Piece of foundation in metro

Wikimedia Commons

You can also see a piece of the actual moat wall, found during construction of the metro station.

11. Key at Mount Vernon in Virginia

Mount Vernon

The Marquis de Lafayette was a French nobleman who fought by the side of George Washington in the American Revolutionary War and later became a leader in the French Revolution. He obtained one of the main prison keys to the Bastille shortly after it fell. He sent the cast iron key to Washington, his beloved mentor and idol, and Washington had it installed in a place of honor at Mount Vernon when he retired.

Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

For carbohydrate consumers, nothing completes a Thanksgiving meal like stuffing—shovelfuls of bread, celery, mushrooms, and other ingredients that complement all of that turkey protein.

Some people don’t say “stuffing,” though. They say “dressing.” In these calamitous times, knowing how to properly refer to the giant glob of insulin-spiking bread seems necessary. So what's the difference?

Let’s dismiss one theory off the bat: Dressing and stuffing do not correlate with how the side dish is prepared. A turkey can be stuffed with dressing, and stuffing can be served in a casserole dish. Whether it’s ever seen the inside of a bird is irrelevant, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong and should be met with suspicion, if not outright derision.

The terms are actually separated due to regional dialects. “Dressing” seems to be the favored descriptor for southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, while “stuffing” is preferred by Maine, New York, and other northern areas. (Some parts of Pennsylvania call it "filling," which is a bit too on the nose, but to each their own.)

If “stuffing” stemmed from the common practice of filling a turkey with carbs, why the division? According to The Huffington Post, it may have been because Southerners considered the word “stuffing” impolite, so never embraced it.

While you should experience no material difference in asking for stuffing or dressing, when visiting relatives it might be helpful to keep to their regionally-preferred word to avoid confusion. Enjoy stuffing yourselves.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at

High School's Anonymous Pantry Offers Discreet Access to Necessities

Being a teenager is tough enough without having to worry where your next meal is coming from. At Washington High School in Washington, North Carolina, students are able to access an in-house pantry stocked with basic resources, away from the prying eyes of their peers.

In 2015, the high school’s former principal Misty Walker opened a hygiene closet in partnership with Bright Futures, an organization dedicated to helping schools in the community. She told the Huffington Post that she got the idea after being approached by students looking for basic items like toothbrushes and toothpaste. Today, the pantry stocks food, clothing, and school supplies provided by local donors.

If students ever wish to use the closet, all they need to do is confide in a teacher, counselor, or administrator. They will then be taken by a staff member to one of the school’s pantries where they can shop in a private setting free from stigma. Because the program is anonymous, there are no flyers hung up advertising the pantry. Instead, the administration relies on word of mouth to spread the news.

Washington High School's assistant vice principal Melissa Harris took over the project following Walker's departure, and she tells Mental Floss that today it's stronger than ever. "The food pantry is being replenished by partners and student organizations," she says. "Our carpentry kids are also participating in the overhaul and design of the new space. The toiletry closet and clothes closet are in constant use and our partners are assisting in keeping that replenished and it has been a blessing to our students."

Some high schools across the country have followed Washington's lead in recent years. William Penn High School in New Castle, Delaware, and Northridge High School in Layton, Utah, are just a few of the institutions with similar programs.

But Washington High remains ahead of the curve. In preparation for the holidays, the school is hosting food drives for its December backpack program: The plan is to send students home with backpacks filled with two weeks' worth of supplies to get them through the long break. 


More from mental floss studios