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The famous fortress-cum-prison is long gone, but its role in the kick-off to the French revolution makes this patch of Paris one of the most historic pieces of soil in the whole country – and one of the most politically symbolic places in Europe. The spot is now a large roundabout (you can see a chunk of the foundations in the metro station underneath) that is usually choked either with traffic or with mass demonstrations. The streets immediately north and east are particularly strong on good yet affordable restaurants, smart private galleries, bobo boutiques and grungy record stores.
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