Along the Seine River in Paris sits a unique building. Though not as ornate as many historic buildings in Paris, this one has a long history. What began as the royal palace, or the Palais de la Cité, in the 14th century, it was one of the finest buildings in the word at the time.

By the end of the century though, the palaces of Louvre and Vincennes were chosen.  It was then given to the Parliament to be used for administrative offices.
A person, known as “the Concierge” took care of the Palace and had legal and police authority in the city. Hence the name. By 1391, it was converted to a prison. Wealthy prisoners had the best accommodations while common thieves stayed dark, rodent-infested rooms, often succumbing to diseases such as the plague.

During the French Revolution, the Conciergerie became famous as the place where prisoners were held before they were taken to the guillotine to be beheaded. It also housed the Revolutionary Tribunal, a court set up to trial opponents of the French Revolution, sending nearly 2,600 prisoners to the guillotine, including Marie Antoinette.


Along the Seine River in Paris sits the Conciergerie. What started as the royal palace, became a famous prison during the French Revolution. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.