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La Conciergerie In Paris France

La Conciergerie is a very historical monument that includes the remains of the oldest royal palace in Paris and was first constructed at the start of the 14th century but was then turned into a prison during the 15th century.

Located on the Ile de la Cite, which is the island in the middle of the River Seine, the location was originally chosen by King Philippe IV, known as Philippe The Fair, in the early 14th Century as the place where he would build a palace to symbolise his power.

La Conciergerie

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La Conciergerie In Paris France

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 guillotine.

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 reconstructed.

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 walking distance.

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 Seine.

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 an adult.

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 otherwise.

Address & Contact Details:

La Conciergerie
1 Quai de l'Horloge

Telephone: 1 53 40 60 97 or 1 53 40 60 93
Fax: 1 53 40 60 96

La Conciergerie In Paris

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