The Conciergerie – Palais de la Cité in the 1st arrondissement of Paris

The Conciergerie was the first medieval palace and residence of the French Kings from the 14th century until 1358 when they chose Louvre and Vincennes over the Palace of the Cité (Palais de la Cité in the 1st arrondissement of Paris). The Conciergerie was built on the western side of the Île de la Cité and later in 1391 became the first prison in Paris and had a dramatic role during the French revolution and Reign of Terror. The current Paris Law Courts and the outstanding royal chapel, Sainte-Chapelle (worth to visit together with the Conciergerie), are situated in the Palace of the Cité.

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In this harsh detention center around 3000 convicts were condemned to death as they were transported to Concorde Square to be beheaded. Some of the famous personages among them were Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, a French queen who once lived in Chateau de Versailles; Mistress of Louis XV, Madameme du Barry; Madameme Roland; Charlotte Corday, who murdered Marat; from the leaders of the Revolution itself, Danton, Robespierre and Fouquier-Tinville – who actually himself sentenced thousands of prisoners before his own death. Most of the wealthy prisoners were kept in luxury cells, whilst the poor ones had hardly a place to sleep on in rotten cells and eventually diseased with plague. Visit famous Marie Antoinette’s cell which was converted to a chapel.
The Parisian monument, The Conciergerie, is open everyday from 9:30 am to 6 pm. It is closed on January 1, May 1 and December 25.

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The Conciergerie with its remarkable Gothic architecture, taking a vital part in the national history of France, was extensively renovated and some parts rebuilt in the 19 century. Only small part of the monument is open to the public. Three towers remain from the medieval palace: the Ceaser Tower (Tour de César), named in respect of the Roman Emperors; the Silver Tower (Tour d’Argent), where the royal treasury was allegedly was stored; and the Bonbec (“good beak”) Tower also refered to as Tour de l’Horloge (the clock tower), which used to house the torture chamber and in 1370 the first public clock was installed here which was renovated recently and replaced by another 1535 clock.
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