Paris

Conciergerie

The Conciergerie is a majestic and imposing medieval building, which over the centuries was used as the Royal Palace, seat of Justice and prison during the Revolution.

Strolling along the Seine you will come across a majestic and imposing building, the Conciergerie, the oldest royal palace in Paris built in the Capetian period.

After serving as a royal palace from the 10th to the 14th century, and later as the seat of local administration and justice, during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror it became a terrible prison, holding around 4,000 inmates, including illustrious names such as Marie Antoinette and Charlotte Corday, who had stabbed Marat to death.

Ironically, some of the major protagonists of the Revolution also ended their days in the cells of the Conciergerie before being guillotined: first and foremost Danton and Robespierre.

Things to do at the Conciergerie

Clock Tower

At the corner of the Conciergerie, this tower houses the oldest clock in Paris. When it was built in 1371, its main function was to chime on the births and deaths of kings and their families.

Salle des Gens d’Armes

This huge 1785 m² hall was used as a refectory in the Middle Ages and remains to this day the largest Gothic civil hall in Europe.

Built by Philip IV the Fair between 1300 and 1314, its four-aisled plan, separated by pillars, initially covered the same area as the Grand’Salle (reception hall), located on the first floor and which disappeared following a major fire in 1618.

The Salle des Gens d’Armes, with its inset keystones, its capitals with intertwined foliage and its four large heating fireplaces, is one of the most impressive rooms in the building, an admirable example of a civil Gothic architectural space.

Between 1,000 and 2,000 royal servants and soldiers ate here every day, heated by four large fireplaces. The men-at-arms and service personnel of the Hôtel du Roi met all day long in this room, which was perpetually bustling with activity.

Salle des Gardes

Contemporary with the Salle des Gens d’Armes, the Salle des Gardes served as the ground floor for the Grand’Chambre upstairs, where the Parliament of Paris sat under the Ancien Régime. The king held the ‘beds of justice’, i.e. the most solemn audiences, there.

The two vaulted naves are separated by a row of richly sculpted pillars. The capital of the central pillar represents Heloise and Abelard, a mythical couple of the Middle Ages. Under the Capetian dynasty (987-1328), the Salle des Gardes served as the sovereign’s guardhouse. When Charles V left the palace (14th century), it was transformed into dungeons, assigned to the Concierge’s justice. The Grand’Chambre was replaced in the 18th century by the Revolutionary Tribunal during the Revolution.

The Royal Kitchens

Built around 1353 for the service people, the kitchen pavilion comprised two overlapping rooms: the king’s kitchens on the upper floor and the communal kitchens on the ground floor. Dishes were brought to the upper floor by an external ramp that connected the services of the royal hotel to the Grand’Salle, the ceremonial hall above the present Salle des Gens d’Armes.

Food and drink were delivered directly by boat to the embarkation port bordering the nearby Seine. Built on a square floor plan of 280 square metres, the kitchen is divided into four bays and houses four large corner fireplaces. The floor is paved with stones and 2 large windows illuminate the room.

The inmates’ cells

It is still possible to visit the cells of common inmates and those of high-ranking personages, which were equipped with bathrooms and in which people could bring their furniture while awaiting trial, such as the Ghirondini Cell, where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned.

Tickets and opening hours

The Conciergerie is open every day from 1 January to 31 December, except 1 May and 25 December, from 09.30 to 18.00, last access to the monument at 17.30. A night-time visit is also possible, on Saturday evenings until 8 p.m., last admission at 7 p.m.

Entrance ticket

Included in the ticket price, at the entrance you will be given a Histopad free of charge that will allow you to discover the interior of the Palais de la Cité in the 14th century under Philip the Fair and better understand prison life during the Revolution. Thanks to augmented reality techniques, 3D reconstructions and interactive features, this immersive tourist guide will enable you to better understand the history of the place and the evolution of its architecture.

Free admission

The monument is free to under 18s and in general to all 18 to 25-year-olds, citizens of European Union countries and non-European residents on French territory. In addition, the monument is free during European Heritage Days (the 3rd weekend in September) and on the 1st Sunday of the month (1 January to 31 March and 1 November to 31 December).

Combined tickets

There is also a combined ticket to visit both the Conciergerie and the adjacent Sainte Chapelle, which allows you to save on the overall price.

How to get to the Conciergerie

The Conciergerie is located on the Ile de la Cité and is easily reached using the metro: line 4, Cité station, is the closest to the monument. However, the Cluny – La Sorbonne (line 10) and Châtelet (lines 1, 7, 11 and 14) stations are less than a 15-minute walk away.

Alternatively, you can also use the RER B and C, Saint-Michel/Notre-Dame station or buses, lines 21, 24, 27, 38, 58, 81, 85, 96.

Useful information

Address

2 Bd du Palais, 75001 Paris, France

Contacts

TEL: +33 1 53 40 60 80

Timetables

  • Monday: 09:30 - 18:00
  • Tuesday: 09:30 - 18:00
  • Wednesday: 09:30 - 18:00
  • Thursday: 09:30 - 18:00
  • Friday: 09:30 - 18:00
  • Saturday: 09:30 - 18:00
  • Sunday: 09:30 - 18:00

Transports

Metro stops

  • Cite (123 mt)
  • Saint-Michel Notre-Dame (259 mt)
  • Chatelet Les Halles (655 mt)

Where is located Conciergerie

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