Paris is a city that hides the most interesting vestiges of the past. In the heart of this city, on the banks of the River Seine, you can discover the Conciergerie, the remains of the ancient Palais de la Cité. This first residence of the French Kings and a notorious prison during the French Revolution where Marie-Antoinette, the Queen of France was captured, is a place that you should definitely visit. The Conciergerie simply breathes history. Also, children will love to visit this museum in Paris, as there is a possibility to rent the HistoPad, a digital tool that allows you to play the treasure hunt inside the building.
From the 6th to the 14th century, the residence of the Kings of France was situated in the Palais de la Cité in the center of Paris, along the River Seine. This palace was also known as the Conciergerie. The origin of the name comes from the concierge, a high-ranking person that was in charge of this palace when kings were absent. In the 14th century, King Charles V moved the royal residence to Louvre, and this place was transformed into an administrative site. In the 15th century, the lower level of the Conciergerie was almost completely turned into a prison where during the French Revolution many members of the royal family were imprisoned. Marie-Antoinette, the Queen of France, passed two and half months in the Conciergerie, before the Revolutionary Tribunal convicted her and executed by guillotine. During the Restoration, the period following the first fall of Napoleon I in 1814, and the come back of the exiled supporters of the monarchy, the queen's cell was converted into a chapel dedicated to her memory. In 1862, the Conciergerie was listed as a French historical monument, and in 1914, it was partially opened to the public. Today, this place houses many temporary exhibitions.
The Conciergerie was a subject of many restorations over the centuries and even damaged by fire in 1618. Still, today, many parts of this former prison were reconstituted, and the visitors can see the office of a clerk, who was recording the detainees, the concierge's office and even the cell of Queen Marie-Antoinette. Also, it is possible to visit the Salle des Gardes (the Hall of the guards) used by the Revolutionary Tribunal and the Salle des Gens d'armes (the Hall of the men at arms). The Cour des Femmes (the Women's Court), the courtyard where women prisoners, including Queen Marie-Antoinette, were allowed to stay, wash their clothes and eat, didn’t change much from the time of the French Revolution.
Situated only a few steps from the beautiful Sainte Chapelle, the Conciergerie is open every day from 9:30 am to 6 pm from January to December. The entrance fee for adults is 9 euros and 7 euros for all EU residents under 26. Every first Sunday of the month, the entrance is free of charge for everyone. In the Conciergerie, it is possible to rent the HistoPad, a digital tool available in 6 languages that allows you to discover the disappeared places of this building. Also, thanks to the HistoPad, you can play the treasure hunt with your friends and family.
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