Visiting the conciergerie, Palais de la Cité à Paris

What life was like around the time of the Revolution ?


The Conciergerie and the Sainte-Chapelle are all that remains of the oldest Parisian royal palace, the Palais de la Cité, which was converted into a prison in the 15th Century. The site was once home to Roman governors, followed by the first Capetians, and is where Philippe le Bel, as a symbol of his power, had a magnificent palace built in the 14th Century, reputedly one the most splendid buildings of the Middle Ages.

At the end of the 14th Century the Capetian kings deserted the Palais de la Cité, preferring the Louvre and Vincennes, leaving it to be used by the Paris parliament and central administration. A ‘Concierge’ was chosen by the king to keep the peace, oversee the police and register prisoners. As well as giving the building its name of “Conciergerie”, he also turned part of the building into a prison.

In some of the rooms that served as torture chambers, the cell of Marie-Antoinette and others have been recreated. You will also find what is referred to as the ‘Girondins’ chapel, the expiatory chapel which was built – at the request of Louis XVIII – on exactly the same spot as Marie-Antoinette’s cell, the ‘women’s courtyard’ and a washroom, all of which are striking reminders of what life was like around the time of the Revolution.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Main entrance for the Conciergerie
2, boulevard du Palais
75001 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 40 60 93

Open all year round, from 9.30am to 6pm (1st March – 31st October), from 9am to 5pm (1st November to 28th February)
Last entrance 30 minutes before closing

How to get there :
Metro: line 1 (Châtelet), line 4 (Saint-Michel or Cité) lines 7, 11 and 14 (Châtelet)
Bus: 21, 24, 27, 38, 58, 81, 85 and Balabus
RER: line B (Châtelet or Saint-Michel), line C (Saint-Michel)
Cross over the Seine to get to the Ile de la Cité

Visits :
A normal visit takes between 30 minutes and two
• Groups should reserve a month in advance
• Leaflets for the visit are available in French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Chinese…
• Standard entrance fee: 6.50€. Reduced rate: 4.50€. Group rate: 5.30€. School groups: 30€

For further information, check out the Conciergerie’s website:
La Conciergerie