La Conciergerie, the former royal residence and revolutionary prison on the Île de la Cité

Published by Margot de Sortiraparis · Photos by Graziella de Sortiraparis · Published on December 15th, 2023 at 02:59 p.m.
Right in the heart of Paris, not far from Notre-Dame Cathedral or the Sainte-Chapelle with its magnificent stained glass windows, the Conciergerie is an imposing building with a rich history: this palace, which was also a prison, is one of our national monuments and a must-see if you want to find out more about the history of Paris.

Perhaps you've heard of the Conciergerie's most famous prisoner, none other than Queen Marie-Antoinette, who was locked up there before being guillotined. However, the history of the Conciergerie is far more complex than that, and the place hasn't always been a prison.

As early as Gallo-Roman times, a fortress was erected on theÎle de la Cité, and by the end of the 10th century, it had become a palace when the Capetians came to power. It was under Louis IX (the future Saint-Louis), in the 13th century, that the site underwent its most significant changes, with the construction of the Sainte-Chapelle, the palace chapel, still brilliantly preserved today. From one royal generation to the next, the palace was modernized and made more comfortable and luxurious, with the construction of the imposing César and Argent towers - still visible from the Seine - the Salle des Gens d'Armes, the Salle des Gardes and large kitchens. It wasn't until the 14th century that the Palais lost its function as a royal residence and became the Parliament's prison: a concierge, appointed by the king, transformed part of the premises into a jail, giving the building the name "Conciergerie".

During the French Revolution, revolutionaries were imprisoned at the Conciergerie , where some of the most famous prisoners of their day were held: the Count of Montgomery, Olympe de Gouges, Charlotte Corday, Antoine Lavoisier, the Girondins and Robespierre. In 1793, the Conciergerie was also used by the Revolutionary Court to imprison all enemies of the Republic. The most famous prisoner, Marie-Antoinette, arrived at the Conciergerie on the night of August 1 to 2, 1793, where she was sentenced to death on October 16 of the same year.

Listed as a historical monument in 1862, the prison was finally closed in 1934. It is now possible to visit the site via an interactive tablet tour, offered free of charge by the Conciergerie.

The Conciergerie is open daily, from 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and charges €11.50 for full-price adult admission, although under-25s pay nothing! There is no access for people with reduced mobility.

To get to the Conciergerie, take metro line 4 (Cité stop) or lines 1, 7, 11 and 14 (Châtelet stop). If you take the RER B or C, you can also get off at Saint-Michel station.

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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. [Read more]

Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
From December 15th, 2023 to December 31th, 2027

× Approximate opening times: to confirm opening times, please contact the establishment.

    Location

    2 Boulevard du Palais
    75001 Paris 1

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

    Prices
    Moins de 25 ans: Free
    Tarif plein: €11.5

    Official website
    www.paris-conciergerie.fr

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