Bernard-René de Launay

Bernard rene de launay

Bernard René Jourdan, marquis de Launay (1740–1789) was the French governor of the Bastille, the son of a previous governor, and commander of its garrison when it was stormed on 14 July 1789 (see Storming of the Bastille). The marquis Bernard-René Jordan de Launay was born on the night of 8/9 April 1740 in the Bastille where his father was governor. At the age of eight he was appointed to an honourary position in the King's Musketeers (mousquetaires du roi). He subsequently entered the French Guards (gardes-françaises), a regiment permanently stationed in Paris except in time of war. In 1776 de Launay succeeded M. de Jumilhac as Governor of the Bastille. The thirteen years that he spent in this position were uneventful, though on 19 December 1778 he made the serious mistake of failing to fire the cannon of the Bastille as a salute on the birth of a daughter (Madame Royale) to King Louis XVI. Until 1777 he was Seigneur of Bretonnière in Normandy. Unlike Sombreuil, the governor of Hôtel des Invalides, who had accepted the revolutionaries' demands earlier that day, de Launay refused to surrender the prison and hand over the arms and the gunpowder in it.

Personal details

Date of birth
April 8th, 1740
Place of birth
Paris, France
Date of death
July 14th, 1789 at age of 49
Place of death
Paris, France
Cause of death


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