What to see in Paris: the Conciergerie , the first palace of the Kings

Walking on the banks of the Seine, maybe pedal riding a Velib , you can see it by force, passing near the Pont au Change. La Conciergerie is the large white building that we see coming in the Ile de la Cite, a small island on the river that is home to Notre Dame. If you get off the metro at Cité instead, you have to walk the riverside Quai de la Corse to get to the large square tower that graces the corner of the Conciergerie, adorned with a large and elegant blue and gold clock that dates from the fourteenth century.



And to tell the story and the importance of this building you can start from here, from the clock tower which was built in 1310 and housed a bell used for large ceremonies for three days and three nights consecutive its chimes greeted us by the births and deaths of kings or the birth of their firstborn. Unfortunately the bell also served as a signal for the beginning of the start signal for the massacre of St. Bartholomew in 1572, when many Huguenots (Protestants) were massacred by the Catholics and thrown into the river.

The Conciergerie was originally part of the palace of King Philip IV and was used to the concierge or keeper of the royal palace, the first built in Paris. The ground floor is characterized by medieval Sale des Gardes des Gens d’ Armes : main aisles , huge volumes that could accommodate two thousand people at lunch and 4 huge fireplaces to heat the cold Parisian winters. This large building was for many centuries a prison during the Revolution that saw hundreds of prisoners’ forwarders intended to be guillotined in city squares, including Danton, Robespierre and Queen Marie Antoinette.

The building will be closed until October the 20th  and will again be open from October 21, 2013 at 12 noon. The ticket costs € 8.50. If you want to visit the Sainte Chapelle is a cumulative ticket for €12. 50.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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