The Conciergerie in Paris: a monument symbolic of the French Revolution

Published by Rizhlaine de Sortiraparis, Cécile de Sortiraparis · Photos by Cécile de Sortiraparis · Published on February 9th, 2024 at 02:50 p.m.
The Conciergerie is a historic building on the Ile de la Cité in Paris. Since its construction in the 10th century, this monument has been the seat of the Palais de Justice and a prison in turn. It was here that Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned.

The Conciergerie is one of Paris's historic monuments. As early as the 11th century, the Palais de la Cité was equipped with a Conciergerie. The Conciergerie is the high place of power of the Concierge, the one who ensures order and police.

During its renovation, the Centre des Monuments Nationaux wanted to show the traces of time on the building, and so there are medieval Gothic and revolutionary rooms. The medieval rooms are located on the garden level, a few meters below the first floor. Here, we discover the daily life of the king's guard. The Salle des Gens d'Armes, built in 1302 under Philip the Fair, with its magnificent vaulted naves, is a vast refectory, while its kitchen features furniture from yesteryear, its Salle des Gardes where the king held "lits de justice", meetings of Parliament.

La Conciergerie de Paris : un monument symbolique de la Révolution Française - IMG20240209124623La Conciergerie de Paris : un monument symbolique de la Révolution Française - IMG20240209124623La Conciergerie de Paris : un monument symbolique de la Révolution Française - IMG20240209124623La Conciergerie de Paris : un monument symbolique de la Révolution Française - IMG20240209124623

Then it's upstairs to visit the revolutionary rooms, with 3 reconstructed cells, the clerk's office, responsible for registering prisoners, the concierge's office, the toilet room, and Marie-Antoinette's chapel of expiation, built in 1815 in place of her cell. Alongside these historical traces, there are many explanations of the Conciergerie's role during the Revolution and the Terror.

A visit to the Conciergerie brings home the harsh reality of Parisian life during the Revolution, when 4,000 people had to appear before a Revolutionary Tribunal before being released or guillotined, before the Terror and the media trials, including the guillotining of Robespierre, the politician who was the face of the Dictature of Salut Public, a sacrifice deemed necessary for a return to peace...

La Conciergerie de Paris : un monument symbolique de la Révolution Française - IMG20240209125943La Conciergerie de Paris : un monument symbolique de la Révolution Française - IMG20240209125943La Conciergerie de Paris : un monument symbolique de la Révolution Française - IMG20240209125943La Conciergerie de Paris : un monument symbolique de la Révolution Française - IMG20240209125943

Since December 2016, the Conciergerie has been offering augmented reality reconstructions. Using a tablet, the Histopad, the dungeons reveal traces of the 4,000 revolutionary prisoners awaiting trial, the confessional still seems to whisper secrets revealed and Marie-Antoinette's expiatory chapel reveals the conditions of her detention.

In all, eight rooms, eight stories are told in the monument: the kitchens offer the spectacle of a royal banquet that actually took place in 1378, the Salle des Gardes takes the form of a dungeon space from the 1780s, the Grand'Chambre recaptures the splendor of the seat of the Parliament of Paris, and we could almost follow Marie-Antoinette's path to her execution on October 16, 1793, from her cell to the Place de la Révolution, with great historical rigor, the augmented reality paintings having been validated by historians thanks to iconographic sources.

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Practical information

Location

2 Boulevard du Palais
75001 Paris 1

Access
Metro line 1 "Chatelet" station, line 4 "Cité" station

Prices
plein tarif: €9.5
tarif conciergerie/Sainte-Chapelle: €15

Official website
www.paris-conciergerie.fr

More information
Opening hours: 9.30 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily

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