The Conciergerie is an architectural gem with Gothic features and is a gateway to the history of one of the country’s darkest times.
The World Heritage Site was built as a royal residence and became one of the worst prisons in medieval times.
This expansion and elevation of La Conciergerie facts have transformed it into an exceptional 13th-century Gothic beauty.
When you visit it, you will see the beautiful arches, the vaulted ceilings, the medieval curved staircase, and the windows.
The interiors perfectly illustrate the history and give a glimpse of the conditions of the prisoners who spent their last days in this monument.
You can explore this place by purchasing a priority entrance La Conciergerie ticket.
Note: Utilize your time with a Sainte Chapelle and La Conciergeir combination tour. Explore the two beauties together, as they are within a few minutes’ walking distance.
Where is La Conciergerie located?
La Conciergerie is located in the heart of Paris, France.
It stands on the western end of the Île de la Cité, one of the two remaining natural islands on the Seine River.
Its address is 2 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris.
La Conciergerie location
Facts about La Conciergerie et Sainte Chapelle
La Conciergerie and Sainte Chapelle are two iconic landmarks in Paris that hold great historical and architectural significance.
These sites attract millions of visitors each year who are eager to explore their rich history and experience their captivating beauty.
We will delve into the fascinating facts about La Conciergerie, shedding light on their origins, notable features, and the stories they have witnessed throughout the centuries.
Former Royal Palace
Originally built as a royal palace in the 10th century, La Conciergerie served as a residence for French kings.
It was initially known as the Palais de la Cité and was expanded over the centuries to accommodate the royal court.
Conversion into a Prison
In the 14th century, during the reign of Charles V, La Conciergerie was transformed into a prison.
The palace’s vast halls and chambers were repurposed to hold prisoners, marking the beginning of its association with the French judicial system.
Throughout its history, La Conciergerie housed several notable prisoners besides Marie Antoinette.
These included revolutionary figures such as Georges Danton, Maximilien Robespierre, and Charlotte Corday.
The prison became synonymous with the harsh and often arbitrary justice system of the time.
Connection to Sainte Chapelle
La Conciergerie is connected to another notable landmark, Sainte Chapelle, by a passageway.
This connection allows visitors to appreciate the historical and architectural continuity between the two sites.
If you want to appreciate the beauty of both of these attractions together at the price of one, you can book the combined Conciergerie Sainte Chapelle tickets.
Efforts have been made to preserve and restore La Conciergerie, ensuring its architectural integrity and historical significance endure.
These preservation projects aim to maintain the site’s authenticity and allow future generations to appreciate its cultural value.
What to see inside La Conciergerie
Once a significant detention center and Queen Marie Antoinette’s last prison, Conciergerie is next to Sainte Chapelle.
With its dark history, the monument is a perfect example of European secular architecture.
La Conciergerie Exteriors
You will get the best views of the medieval monument of Paris’s La Conciergerie from the right bank of the River Seine.
This place includes four stunning Gothic towers: the Bonbec Tower, the Silver Tower, the Caesar Tower, and the Haulage Tower.
The oldest one, the Bonbec Tower, was a famous prison for torture, and the suffering was so intense that the prison tower was known as the babbler among the locals.
Also, the exclusive Silver Tower was unique in itself as it worked as the royal treasury for the palace.
Roman culture heavily influenced the Caesar Tower, which was named to honor the Roman emperors in Paris.
The Horlage Tower, once conceived as the first public tower, showcases a beautiful clock.
This clock still chimes every hour of the day and tells the time to French citizens and tourists.
Hall of Soldiers
While entering the Conciergerie, you will find yourself in the Salon des gens d’armes, also known as the Hall of Soldiers.
This UNESCO site is the oldest medieval hall in Europe and has four massive aisled rooms and a large fireplace.
The rooms were the dining hall for about 2000 staff members. Royal banquets and judicial proceedings also took place in these rooms.
Next, you can venture into the guard’s room, built around the same time as the Hall of Soldiers.
The rooms have a fascinating history as they were antechambers for the upper hall where the king held meetings.
While visiting the guard’s room, you will also spot the keepers’ office, the kitchen, and the toilets.
The kitchen had about four large fireplaces on each corner to cook food for about 3000 people.
The Toilette is where prisoners had their hair shaved before being hanged to death.
At the Conciergerie, you will see the prison cells with real-life mannequins representing the men who lived in the cells.
The prisoner’s quality of life depended highly on their wealth and the whims of the jailers.
Only the celebrity prisoners often enjoyed their cells, while middle-class people had a single bed and table.
You can see all these details upon your visit to La Conciergerie.
Marie Antoinette Exhibit
Moving downstairs, you will spot an exhibit featuring Marie Antoinette, Conciergerie’s most famous prisoner.
It was exhibited when Marie Antoinette spent two months in prison during the Reign of Terror.
It is not the actual cell but a reconstruction, with her posing in a black veil on her chair.
The room holds a cot, table, bed, and screen. This screen acted as a separator between the queen and the guards.
Chapel of the Girondins
Moving forward, you can visit the Chapel of the Girondins, dedicated to the 12 deputies of the Girondin party.
The Girondin were unfortunate revolutionaries who became Jacobin’s victims and were punished for not being liberal enough.
This chapel celebrates the Girondins by hosting a feast like the one held a day before their execution.
Corner of the Twelve
After passing through the chapel, you reach the women’s courtyard, where the prisoners would wash their clothes and eat their meals.
The Corner of Twelve, or the intersection of goodbyes, is where the sentenced prisoners would wait to go to the guillotine.
This corner was also where prisoners could talk to each other through bars.
How to reach La Conciergerie Paris
Reaching Paris’s La Conciergerie is easy as it is highly accessible through numerous modes of transport.
The fastest way is by Metro Line 4 to the Cite shop. From there, walk down Rue de Lutece to the Palais de Justice and take a left to reach La Conciergerie.
You can also travel by the popular Batobus to the Conciergerie.
It stops at the left bank across from Notre Dame and is a walkable distance from the attraction.
The popular site is only 3 miles away from the city center of Paris, so you can easily travel here by bike or car.
Best time to visit La Conciergerie
The best time to visit La Conciergerie will be from April to June and from October to early November.
The weather during this time is most favorable for tourists wanting to enjoy traveling and sightseeing.
If you wish to save on travel and accommodation expenses, please visit the site from December to February.
We suggest you book your tickets online to visit when you want.
What is the Conciergerie used for today?
La Conciergerie, a building in Paris, was formerly a prison during the French Revolution but is used as a law court today.
Located on the west side of Île de la Cité, it was a part of the Royal Palace Palais de la Cite alongside the Palais de Justice and Sainte Chapelle.
Is visiting Conciergerie worth it?
La Conciergerie’s impressive Gothic architecture and rich history are worth visiting.
Nestled in the heart of Paris, Île de la Cité, the Conciergerie was a former royal palace but was later turned into a prison.
Visiting it is a great way to look at the history of the French capital.
Why was the Conciergerie built?
The building was first established as a part of the Royal Palace until King Charles V decided to move his residence to the Louvre.
After that, the Conciergerie took form in the 14th century and functioned as the Kingdom’s new parliament and official administrative office.
In the 18th century, it functioned as a prison during the French Revolution.
How long will it take to visit La Conciergerie?
If you want a quick visit to La Conciergerie, then one hour to 90 minutes should be enough for you.
But if you want to explore the stunning monument and grasp its history intimately, it should take you about 2 hours to visit the medieval palace.
But this depends on the sightseer and how he or she chooses to explore the historical monument.
What is the name of the most famous prisoner of Conciergerie?
The Conciergerie’s most famous prisoner was Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France before the revolution.
The building became one of the primary places of detention during the French Revolution with the installation of the Revolutionary Court.
During the restoration of La Conciergerie, a commemorative chapel was on her prison cell site.
Can I visit Conciergerie free of cost?
Visitors under 18, European residents under 26, teachers with a pass, and disabled persons with their carers get a free entry pass after ID validation.
For others, the entry fee for the concierge is €12.
But booking a timeslot is necessary for everyone to get inside the monument.
You can buy tickets for Conciergerie online.
What are the timings for La Conciergerie?
The Conciergerie’s opening times are from 9 am to 6 pm.
The monuments remain open from Monday to Sunday, except on 1st May and 25th December.
However, the cash deck for Conciergerie closes 30 minutes before the closing time.
The last admission into the building is permitted at least 45 minutes before closing.
Featured Image: Paris-conciergerie.fr