Thursday, February 19, 2009

The final hours of a Queen: La Conciergerie

Marie-Antoinette was an average woman with a huge destiny. During the French revolution she tempted to flee Paris together with her husband, the king Louis XVI, and their children. Their plan failed, and they were placed in arrest. La Conciergerie is where the incredible life-journey of Marie-Antoinette ended. That is, she was decapitated at Place de la Concorde, but spent her last time in her cell at La Conciergerie in the Palace de la Cité.

As the first royal palace in Paris, this palace had its hour of glory under the Capetian monarchs. In 1793, La Conciergerie became the main prison of the revolutionary law courts. In addition to the revolutionary tribunal, it housed up to 1,200 male and female prisoners at a time. The tribunal sat in the "Great Hall" between 2 April 1793 and 31 May 1795 and sent nearly 2,600 prisoners to the guillotine. Its rules were simple. Only two outcomes existed — a declaration of innocence or a death sentence — and in most cases the latter was chosen.

When visiting the palace as a tourist, you can benefit from a historical presentation of the tragic hours of the Terror. Several cells have been reconstituted, including that of Marie-Antoinette. Today the palace also houses several of Paris' law courts.

Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris. Métro Ile de la Cité (line 4)

1 comment:

  1. It's a very impressive place to visit.
    Guided tour recommended if you really want to understand these pages of the french history.
    You can even see the blade of the "guillotine", the head cutter machine.
    Read more here: