Described at the time as one of the most impressive palaces of
the Middle Ages it is an imposing building that was named the Palais de la Cite, but
towards the end of the 14th century this place was abandoned in favour of Chateau Vincennes and The Louvre palace, which of course is now the most
famous museum in Paris.
This left the Palais de la Cite to be used by the Paris parliament and administration and
it was the Concierge that was nominated by the King to maintain order, manage the police
and he transformed part of the building into a prison, which is why the building became
known as La Conciergerie.
The hall of guards, the soldiers hall and the kitchen at the Conciergerie all date from
the 14th century, but it was the cellars of the building that although had become like a
courthouse, eventually were made into a prison and by the 1700's this building had become
the main prison.
This building really became a famous Paris Landmark
through the French Revolution and in the years 1793 and 1794 there were around 2,780 men
and women who were detained at La Conciergerie awaiting their fate before they were
escorted to the Concorde square to be beheaded.
Now one of those most famous names in history, Marie-Antoinette, who was the Queen of
France and sister of the King of Austria, was among those detained here before facing the
Today you can visit the halls that were the setting for the Reign of Terror, and you will
be able to see the cell of Marie-Antoinette and a series of dungeons, that have been
The chapel known as des Girondins is an expiatory chapel that was built according to the
instructions of King Louis XVIII on the exact spot of Marie Antoinette's cell, and in her
memory it now includes a crucifix and a couple of portraits. So along with this, you
can also get to see the ladies court and the dressing room and these are also a moving
memorial of this period.
But with its impressive Gothic architecture and halls such as the Salle des Gardes with
its beautiful vaulted ceiling, to the imposing facade, which is a reminder of the Middle
Ages, La Conciergerie is the oldest prison in the whole of France and is certainly a place
to visit if you like French history.
Obviously, it is situated in a very historical part of Paris
in the 1st arrondissement and is a great place to visit whilst going to see other famous Paris monuments such as the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, which is located within
Today, La Conciergerie constitutes a wing of the Palais de Justice and the colonnaded
Salle des Gens d'Armes, which is over 60m long and around 25m wide is now sometimes used
for concerts, but this is a fascinating landmark that you can venture into, or just admire
from a distance whilst cruising down the River
La Conciergerie is open from 9am to 5pm during the months of November through to February,
but from March through to October it opens at 9.30am and does not close until 6pm, but
last admission is 45 minutes before closing time. You might also like to note that
it is always closed on the main national holidays.
The cost for entry as of 2010 is 7 for an adult and 4.50 for concessions, but
people under 18 can gain free entry if accompanied by an adult.
You will be pleased to know that a visit to this former prison and palace can also be
combined with a visit to the Sainte-Chapelle
and the combined entrance fee for access to both is 11 or 7.50 for
concessions. Again, people under the age of 18 can gain free entry if accompanied by
There is information in different languages such as French, English, Spanish, Italian and
Japanese or you can have an audio guide in English, French, Russian and Spanish and it is
free for anyone to visit who is under the age of 18, but there is an admission charge
Address & Contact Details:
1 Quai de l'Horloge
Telephone: 1 53 40 60 97 or 1 53 40 60 93
Fax: 1 53 40 60 96