The French Revolution started in 1789, when King Louis XVI and the French monarchy were overthrown. To learn about and see the infamous locations of major events from that time of political turmoil, check out the following five sites around Paris.
Place de la Concorde
One of the largest squares in Paris, Place de la Concorde sits between the Champs-Elysées and Tuileries Garden. During the Revolution, King Louis XVI, his wife Marie Antoinette, and other members of the French aristocracy were executed here by guillotine.
How to Visit: Most city tours pass by Place de la Concorde, whose main feature is an Egyptian obelisk. The best way to see the square, however, is on foot during a walk along the Right Bank of the Seine.
Once a palace during the Middle Ages, the Conciergerie was used as a prison during the French Revolution. Hundreds of prisoners were kept here, including Marie Antoinette, before being taken to the guillotine.
How to Visit: Set on Ile de la Cité, the same island on the Seine where Notre-Dame Cathedral sits, the Conciergerie is easy to visit with a combo ticket package. Some tours also visit Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic-style chapel that was part of the medieval palace.
Palace of Versailles
The Revolution started in part because of the way French aristocrats lived in excess while many of their citizens starved. This lavish lifestyle is on full display at the Palace of Versailles, where the king and queen lived.
How to Visit: Several half-day and full-day trips are available from Paris, with transportation and entrance fees included for your convenience. Add-on activities you can choose from include a trip to Giverny, a bike tour, and a nighttime visit, which may include the summertime garden and fountain shows.
The Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, when the medieval fortress was attacked by an angry mob, jump-started the revolution. July 14 is celebrated in France as Bastille Day.
How to Visit: The building itself no longer stands, but its location is marked by Place de la Bastille, a square that straddles the 4th, 11th, and 12th arrondissements. Discover the area on a food walking tour, or opt for a bike tour that stops at less-visited sights.
A collection of museums relating to France's military history, Les Invalides is best known for housing the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. The gold Dôme des Invalides is a recognizable part of the Paris skyline.
How to Visit: Les Invalides is set near the Eiffel Tower, so a combo tour is a great way to check out both sites. You can also visit on a bike tour, or opt for a night tour to admire the illuminated architecture after dark.