La Conciergerie

This exciting 14th century fortress was the setting for Marie-Antoinette’s imprisonment before the revolution and looks just the part from the outside. Definitely worth a visit if you are planning a trip to Paris, get up early and leave your Paris accommodation or Paris apartments, and make your way to 2 bd du Palais in the 1st arrondissements.

The 13th century Bonbec tower, built during the reign of St Louis, the 14th century twin towers, César and Argent, and the Tour de l’Horloge all survive from the Capetian palace. Here you will be able to see the interior of the castle, including the Salle des Gardes, medieval kitchens with their four huge chimneys and the Salle des Gens d’Armes, an impressive vaulted Gothic hall built between 1301 and 1315 for Philippe ‘le Bel’.

After the royal family moved to the Louvre, the fortress became a prison under the watch of the Concierge. The wealthy had private cells with their own furniture, which they paid for. A list of Revolutionary prisoners, including a hairdresser, shows that not all victims were nobles. In Marie-Antoinette’s cell, the Chapelle des Girondins, are her crucifix and portraits.

Located on the west of the Île de la Cité, near the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, la Conciergerie is part of the larger complex known as the Palais de Justice, which is still used for judicial purposes.

You can get to this interesting castle by Metro: lines 1, 4, 7, 11 and 14 – Bus: 21, 24, 27, 38, 58, 81, 85 and Balabus – RER: lines B and C – Follow the Seine banks to Ile de la Cité. Open from Mar – Oct 9:30am – 6pm daily and Nov – Feb 9am-4.30pm daily. As well as this, admission is €6.50; €4.50 18-25s, with under 18s free when accompanied by an adult.

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