Conciergerie, Paris

3.5 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars - 77 Reviews

1, quai de l'Horloge , 75001

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  • La Conciergerie
    La Conciergerie
    by Nemorino
  • Conciergerie - Hall of Men at Arms
    Conciergerie - Hall of Men at Arms
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    Chapel within the Conciergerie
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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    The prison under the Revolution.

    by breughel Updated Feb 5, 2014

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    Conciergerie prison - grooming room
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    In a rather small part of the Conciergerie reconstructions of some rooms of the prison under the Revolution can be seen like the clerk's and concierge's offices, the room where condemned prisoners were stripped of their personal belongings and had their hair cut in their neck before being grouped by twelve in the courtyard where a cart would take them to the scaffold with the guillotine.

    A series of cells show the various categories of prisoners. The poor called "payeux" because they were sleeping on straw "paille" put on the floor, the "pistoliers" who paid some "pistols" (french money of that time) for a cell with a bed.

    Actually there were many more cells than these few reconstitutions. Up to 600 prisoners could be kept in the prison.
    The large room of the Guards was compartmentalized in cells and horizontally divided by a floor at middle height to increase the number of cells for men. Around the Grand Préau were also cells for men. The cells for women surrounded the "cour des femmes". The fountain the visitors can see now is the one where the female prisoners washed their clothes.
    During the "Terreur" reign of terror (1793-94) 2.700 persons were prosecuted and 2278 were condemned to death. In 1794 an average of about 40 people were guillotined every day.

    Open every day: 9h30 - 18 h
    Closed: 1/1, 1/05, 25/12.
    Price (2014) 8,50 €
    Reduced price 5,50 € 18 - 25 years. Free till 17 years old.
    Combined ticket with la Sainte Chapelle : 12,50 €
    Tickets can be bought and printed on line http://conciergerie.monuments-nationaux.fr/

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Conciergerie - Medieval Halls.

    by breughel Updated Feb 5, 2014

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    Conciergerie - Salle des Gens d
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    As there was a queue at the Sainte Chapelle at 50 m from here I entered the Conciergerie where there was nearly nobody. I could admire in all tranquillity the medieval halls. Surprising is the fact that the floor of these halls from the 14th century is well below street level. In the 19th century the embankments of the nearby Seine were raised as well as the rest of the Île de la Cité.
    The huge hall build under Philippe le Bel in the begin of the 14th c. is called salle des Gens d'Armes - Hall of Men-at-Arms and is a fine example of Gothic secular architecture.
    It was heated by four large fireplaces still existing.
    On the right of the entrance is a spiral staircase leading to an upper floor, now disappeared, which was the ceremonial hall for the Capetian monarchy.
    Behind the Hall of Men-at-Arms, on the right is the Guards room.
    These medieval halls have been restored in the year 2000 and new lightings installed.
    The place is really spectacular and worth the visit as the "best" is to come with the revolutionary halls and the prison.

    The name "Conciergerie"dates from the end of 14th c. when King Charles V left this residence for the Louvre Palace. He appointed a concierge (steward) endowed with legal powers to run the former palace transformed a century later into a prison .

    Open every day: 9h30 - 18 h
    Closed: 1/1, 1/05, 25/12.
    Price (2014) 8,50 €
    Reduced price 5,50 € 18 - 25 years. Free till 17 years old.
    Combined ticket with la Sainte Chapelle : 12,50 € and 8,50 €.
    Tickets can be bought and printed on line at http://conciergerie.monuments-nationaux.fr/

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  • CALSF's Profile Photo

    An Infamous Parisian Prison

    by CALSF Updated Mar 6, 2006

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    La Conciergerie

    A visit to La Conciergerie is a must-see if you want to experience what prison life was like not only for the poor but also for the aristocracy. The massive building with its towers can be seen from the Seine. It is definitely an ominous sight to behold.
    La Conciergerie was originally part of a royal palace that included Saint-Chapelle and the Palais de Justice. Later on it became a law court and a prison during the reign of Charles V after he moved the royal residence.

    Its entrance on the ground floor is the Salle des Gens d' Armes where the staff ate when the Conciergerie was a palace. During the French Revolution the Conciergerie held thousands of prisoners, many of them both famous and infamous revolutionaries: Robespierre, Danton, Desmoulins, etc.

    To get an idea of the prisoners lived, visit the prison cell replicas upstairs. The poorest prisoners had bare cells save for some hay to sleep on. The aristocratic prisoners had luxurious furnishings and objects in their cells.

    The most visited cell is the replica of Marie Antoinette's. It is a tiny room with replicas of her furnishings, very dark. There is a replica of the queen who is seated with her back facing you and she wears a veil; behind her standing watch is a prison guard. It's difficult to imagine a French queen-whose home was Versailles at one time-being confined to such a dank, depressing cell. On the wall are displayed personal objects belonging to the queen. One reads about Marie Antoinette and once you see her personal effects, she becomes a real person, another human like us. It's both sad and touching at the same time.

    Tip: Be sure that when you purchase a ticket to see the Conciergerie include the visit to St. Chapelle. This allows you to enter St. Chapelle with priority (something I declined to do due to time).

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  • bpacker's Profile Photo

    Architecture : La Conciergerie,

    by bpacker Updated Nov 25, 2004

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    Salle des Gens d'Armes

    At first your first glance, the soaring celings and halls of La Conciergerie looks pretty serene, right? But behind the facade lies an eerie history . During the French Revolution, more than 2, 700 people spent their last moments here after they were sentenced to death...

    Among its more famous prisoners were the queen Marie Antoinette, Charlotte Corday ( an innocent looking chick with a killer instinct)Danton, and the poet Chenier. Marie Antoinette's cell is now a chapel , and it includes her crucifix, and two portraits of her from life.

    Other than eerie past, there is not much else to see in this empty building unless you really dig architecture and history...

    Architectural/Historical Tip: This fortress-like building on the Ile-de-la-Cité makes up much of the Palais de Justice complex. It was built by Philippe the Fair (1284-1314) and was once the residence of the King's steward, hence the name Conciergerie. Come to this place to oogle at the beautiful archiectural features, in particular the Salle des Gardes - the room of the guards with elegant vaulting - the colonnaded Salle des Gens d'Armes - 69m long and 27m wide now sometimes used for concerts - and the Cuisines with its four large fireplaces, each large enough to roast an entire ox.

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    Just for a visit, not a stay!

    by tiabunna Updated Nov 16, 2006

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    Welcome, Citizen.  Your name please...
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    Built by King Phillip the Fair as an annexe to his new palace, the Conciergerie originally was for the Concierge, the King’s official gatekeeper. It since has been incorporated into the complex that now is the Palais de Justice. To say the least, it is an impressive and extremely substantial building – so much so that it became the Paris equivalent of the Tower of London. It was used to house the Crown Jewels of France. In the 16th century, it became a prison: a very grim one at that – rising to notoriety in that role during the Revolution, when it housed thousands condemned to the guillotine. But long before the Revolution it was no place to be, one of its towers being known as the “Tour Bonbec”, or Blabbing Tower where ‘suitable means’ were administered as necessary to extract information.

    Entry is through the ‘Hall of the Guards’ and the ‘Hall of the Men at Arms’, massively constructed of arched stone. Interestingly, early in the 1900s the Seine flooded this area to a depth of nearly two metres, as is indicated on a pillar at the rear. Heading onward, there is something of a museum, with a few effigies such as one of the Concierge, looking after the ledgers of prisoners, and a cell set up to simulate the one in which Marie Antoinette was kept under constant supervision by two guards. The former queen’s actual cell has been demolished, but there is a shrine to her where it was. One of the more evocative areas is the Women’s Courtyard, provided for women prisoners to exercise – the bars and spikes making it somewhat less than pleasant!

    Main photo - The Concierge at his work with his ledger
    photo 2 - The entry through the Hall of the Guards
    photo 3 - Replica of Marie Antoinette’s cell, with guards and ‘privacy screen’
    photo 4 - The ‘Women’s Courtyard’. Note the iron spikes (and their shadows from above)
    photo 5 - Some of the walls and towers.

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  • sim1's Profile Photo

    Conciergerie and the Clock Tower

    by sim1 Updated Feb 4, 2007

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    Clock tower at the Conciergerie
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    On the western side of the Île de la Cité and on the banks of the river Seine, you can see the Conciergerie with its beautiful Clock Tower. The Conciergerie is a former prison in Paris and is part of the larger complex known as the Palais de Justice. Unfortunately it was here that I run out of time during my Paris visit and I wasn't able to squeeze in a visit to the Conciergerie. Unfortunately I didn't see much more of it then the outside, during the day and even at the evening lights. I have been able to stare up at the tower clock though. If you are in this area, don’t forget to look for the clock, as it is beautiful to see. This is France's first public clock and was installed around 1370. The clock is located on the square tower on the corner of the Quai de l'Horloge and de Boulevard du Palais.

    If you do have more time then I did it might be interesting to take a look inside. The Conciergerie has some beautiful features. The most beautiful one is said to be the Salle des Gardes (room of the guards) with its elegant vaulting. I am sorry myself not to have seen it, but hopefully I will do so during a next visit to Paris.

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  • ruki's Profile Photo

    La Conciergerie

    by ruki Updated Mar 28, 2008

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    ThisGothic architecture building is from early 14th century.In 1391, the Conciergerie became the first prison of Paris when this residence accommodated the seat of the Parliament and the judicial power. During the French Revolution, nearly 3,000 condemned spent their last days here. They were then transported to Concorde Square to be guillotined. Amongst them were Marie-Antoinette, the Austrian and wife of Louis XVI and Charlotte Corday, arrested to have stabbed Marat in his bath.

    Opening hours : every day starting at 9.30 a.m to 6.00 p.m from March the 1st until October the 31st starting at 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. from November the 1st to February the 29th

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    The 76 days of Marie-Antoinette.

    by breughel Updated Feb 5, 2014

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    Marie-Antoinette in her cell.
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    Marie-Antoinette was transferred to the Conciergerie after the escape bid from the prison of the Temple organized by the baron de Batz. She was cruelly separated from her 8 year old son and her 15 year old daughter as well as her sister in law Madame Elisabeth. She was only allowed to bring with her a little dog.
    It was known that the Conciergerie was the anteroom of death and yet in Austria her Habsbourg family and the emperor Francois, her nephew, remained insensitive in front of the death threat which weighed on the queen of France.

    At the beginning in her dungeon Marie-Antoinette received certain regards but an escape bid awkwardly tried by de Rougeville hardened her detention conditions. All her personal objects were removed and she was transferred in a new humid, low, narrow and dark cell.

    Marie-Antoinette remained 76 days at the Conciergerie. When she was called in front of the Revolutionary Tribunal on October 14, 1793; she was a sick woman with grey hair.
    At the time of her splendour the Queen of France had shown so much spendthrift, lack of thought, looseness that she contributed seriously to the fall of the monarchy. In front of the tribunal Marie-Antoinette showed courage and firmness and faced with dignity the infamous charges of incest on her son presented by Jacques Hébert the substitute of the public prosecutor.

    Her cell, as can be seen now, is a reconstitution on part of the actual site of her dungeon. She was permanently guarded by two gendarmes who were not allowed to talk to her.

    Open every day: 9h30 - 18 h
    Closed: 1/1, 1/05, 25/12.
    Price (2014) 8,50 €
    Reduced price 5,50 € 18 - 25 years. Free till 17 years old.
    Combined ticket with la Sainte Chapelle : 12,50 € and 8,50 €.

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    The Prison of Marie-Antoinette

    by Jefie Updated May 3, 2007

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    La Conciergerie at night

    The Medieval building of which La Conciergerie is part was originally built as a palace for King Philippe IV. In 1391, shortly after the royal family had moved into a new palace (which was to become the Louvre), part of the building became the city's new Court of Justice, and La Conciergerie became the first prison in Paris. Despite the fact that it used to be a King's palace, there was nothing royal about the treatment the prisoners received. As you'll learn during the visit, while some prisoners could afford to pay for a bed and a private cell, most had to content themselves with a bit of hay and had to share their dark and damp cell with many other prisoners. Many men and women died from the many diseases that spread thoughout the prison.

    But the real dark age of La Conciergerie began with the Revolution's Reign of Terror, when approximately 2,780 prisoners were guillotined (a blade of guillotine is part of the exhibition). Of course, the most famous of these prisoners was Queen Marie-Antoinette. The cell where she was kept until her execution has since been transformed into a chapel according to the wishes of King Louis XVIII. It is now possible to visit Marie-Antoinette's chapel, as well as a cell that has been recreated according to the numerous drawings of Marie-Antoinette's cell.

    It costs 6.50 Euros to visit La Conciergerie, but you can use your Museum Pass if you have one, or for 9.50 Euros you can buy a ticket that also gives you access to the Sainte-Chapelle. It's good to know that even though the building itself is really big, the museum is actually rather small, but it's worth seeing it if you've got a Museum Pass or if you're planning on visiting the Sainte-Chapelle as well.

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    Palace to Prison

    by goodfish Updated Apr 3, 2013

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    Conciergerie at night
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    English speakers will connect the name of this forbidding pile on the banks of the Seine with those helpful people who take special care of guests at cushy hotels. Right they are; a concierge was once the steward of a royal palace and such was the case here.

    There were palaces on Île de la Cité as far back as the 6th century and the Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle are medieval remains of the last of them to be used as such. You start your visit in the Hall of Men-at-Arms: a huge room of vaulted naves where several thousand of the king's household took their meals. The graceful spiral staircase near the entrance once led to a large banqueting room for more distinguished folks on the floor above. At the far end is a guard room and a section of the hall used to accommodate the poorest of prisoners when the function of the pile was converted, in the late 14th century, from palace to penal institution.

    It is this dark era of the Conciergerie's past that is illustrated in the rest of the self-guided tour. Over the next 5 centuries many thousands of unfortunates, both rich and poor, political and petty offenders, were incarcerated within these walls. Wealthy or titled individuals were given considerably better quarters than destitute commoners who were left to rot or die of disease in dark, filthy dungeons. Those in between could purchase themselves a bit cleaner cell with a bed if they had the means to do so. Regardless of status, to be a guest of the Conciergerie often meant torture, a sentence of execution or both. Imprisonment and pre-execution processes are explained through re-creations of cells, offices and common spaces, and via printed narrative. Of interest to many visitors is the chapel on the site of Marie-Antoinette's cell and a reproduction of what her chamber may have looked like.

    La Conciergerie is included on the Paris Museum Pass otherwise a ticket includes entry to both the prison and Sainte-Chapelle. You need to be able to climb a flight of stairs to explore the exhibits. See website below for ticket prices, hours, etc. This is especially impressive from the Seine when all lit up at night!

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  • BeatChick's Profile Photo

    Conciergerie

    by BeatChick Updated Aug 3, 2006

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    Welcome to the glory and the infamy of the Conciergerie, the final home of Marie Antoinette before she was carted off on the tumbrels to the Place de la Concorde. Wonder if she felt separation anxiety in those final moments?

    But isn't the exterior of this building gorgeous, with its gothic round towers, turrets and conical roofs? The lighting on the conciergerie at night is just amazing.

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  • Andraf's Profile Photo

    La Conciergerie

    by Andraf Updated Mar 14, 2004

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    La Conciergerie, Paris
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    Located by the Seine on Ile de la Cite, La Conciergerie was originally part of the Royal Palace. It first became a prison at the end of the 14th century and today it is better known for the role it played during the French Revolution (18th century) when it housed over 4000 prisoners including Danton, Robespierre and even Marie-Antoinette. From here people (including the three mentioned above) were being sent to the guillotine. The name of the building comes from the superintendent of the palace (concierge) which was in charge of renting out shops and gathering taxes. Some highlights not to be missed include the impressive Salle des Gens d'Armes (Room of the People at Arms) a vast Gothic room that was used as a banqueting hall and Marie Antoinette's cell.

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  • GUYON's Profile Photo

    La Conciergerie

    by GUYON Updated Mar 6, 2004

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    La Conciergerie
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    It is the more ancient part of the Kings palace remaining in this place.
    It have been transformed into a prison and during the French Revolution it sheltered many famous persons like Robespierre, Charlotte Corday (she murdered Marat) and the Queen Marie Antoinette. The horse car picked up the comdamned to bring them to the guillotine which worked on place de la Concorde.
    Do not miss :
    - a very large medieval hall with columns in the ground floor.
    - the Marie Antoinette jail with the famous screen, the former queen was not allowed to stay alone and there were 2 soldiers permanently
    - the list of the 2700 persons beheaded during the "Terror".

    Open daily : 9:30AM - 6PM
    Price : 7.50 euros
    A single ticket can be delivered for Sainte Chapelle (see in the fravelogues) and la Conciergerie.

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    Conciergerie

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Jul 12, 2006

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    Paris - Conciergerie
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    Conciergerie - the severe, majestic building concerns to Phillip the Beautiful's time, that is by the end XIII - to the beginning of XIV centuries. Its name occurs from a word - "the royal dignitary". Since XVI century the building served as the state prison. Then, in days of Revolution, its chambers were occupied by thousand citizens, which spent here last hours before to rise on a guillotine. It was named the most overcrowded "room of expectation of a scaffold".

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    Conciergerie - Museum

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jul 12, 2006

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    Paris ��� Conciergerie - Maria Antuanetta before exe
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    However any mention of Conciergerie causes times of Revolution in memory. Examining chambers and studying secrets of their device, we as though make a way of those doomed to death of people. Special interest is caused Maria Antoinette's with chamber where the queen contemptuously named "austrian", lead last days before execution. In the morning she cut off the hair and villages in a cart to go on a scaffold where several months ago there was executed her husband.

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