Connect with eGuide

Newsletter - weekly travel articles.

 
Paris attractions
 
Paris tour
 

Conciergerie

Paris hotels

The Conciergerie of Paris is a very important building in the history of France, particularly during the era of the French Revolution near the end of the 18 th century. Located on the Ile de la Cite in Paris, and not far from the Notre Dame Cathedral, this part of the former royal palace was built for the king's caretaker (concierge) and palace guards and later became an infamous prison that featured torturing and executions, and has been compared to England's Tower of London. This comparison is made in that it was the final home for over 2,000 political prisoners who later their met their fate at the guillotine during France's “Reign of Terror”. Among the most notable prisoners who stayed here during the era of the French Revolution were Queen Marie Antoinette and Maximilien Robespierre.

The Conciergerie is part of the sprawling complex known as the Palais de Justice, and is also home to the city's oldest public clock, first installed in the year 1535. If you don't know where the unimpressive looking clock is, you can easily walk by it without even noticing it's there. The clock is located at the corner of the Quai de ‘Horloge and de Boulevard du Palais.

Like all of the important attractions in Paris, the Conciergerie is easily accessible by public transport via the efficient and dependable Paris Metro. Although the RER is the recommended mode of public transport to reach the Notre Dame Cathedral, if you are planning on visiting the Conciergerie directly, the closest Metro stop is at the Cite station approximately 200 metres away on Metro Line #4. Arguably the most beautiful church in Paris, Sainte Chapelle, is only a few metres beyond the Conciergerie.

The entire complex was built over the course of 14 years from the year 1299 to 1313, and along with Sainte Chapelle and the Palais de Justice, formed what was then the French royal complex. King Philip IV of France, also known as Philip the Fair, was in power as the ruling monarch during the era in which this complex was built. He was the father of three future Kings of France: Louis X, Philip V, and Charles IV, who was last of the lineage of the House of Capet royal dynasty that ruled France for over a thousand years.

When visitors first enter main level of the historical building, many might imagine that the ghosts of the many prisoners who suffered or died here might still haunt this cavernous hall. The first level may seem unimpressive to the casual visitor, as it is simply just that, a large cavernous hall that was used as a banquet facility. But the please note that this building was used as a prison facility for over 500 years and on the 2 nd level, visitors will be able to view some of the cells, including the ill-fated Queen Marie Antoinette's and Robespierre's cells. Also on the 2 nd level is a list of over 2,200 people who were executed via the guillotine. Also try to imagine that these prisoners stood on trial just metres away at the Palais de Justice and then led to the location now known as the Place de la Concorde, which is then known as the Place de la Revolution, 2.5 km away.


 
 
back to top