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France was embroiled in the Hundred Years' War with England, a conflict that ran from 1337 to 1453, as the two nations wrestled for control of the French throne. English expeditions into French soil, in which they would burn down crops and buildings, took their toll on the economy and the nation's morale. This led directly to the Jacquerie, a peasant revolt in the north of Paris in 1358, which was followed by other uprisings, cementing France as a nation of unrest and presaging the revolution that was to take place much later*.
* To the extent that two revolutions, four centuries apart, have anything whatsoever to do with one another.
Towards the end of the 14th Century, the Bastille was constructed to defend Paris from the English threat, and played a vital role in internal conflicts. The stone required to build it was extracted from large quarries, parts of which were later used as ossuaries and known as the catacombs.