In the heart of Paris, on the banks of the Seine, visit the Conciergerie, the oldest remaining part of the Palais de la Cité, the royal residence of the kings of France and a prison during the French Revolution.
The origin of the name. The Concierge was a high-ranking person in the kingdom. He was appointed by the king to maintain order, the police and record the prisoners.
A place of power. From the 6th century, Clovis established his royal residence on the Ile de la Cité. In 1200, Philip II of France made the Palais de la Cité the seat of power of the Capetian dynasty. Louis IX then embellished the building with the construction of the palace chapel. Philip IV subsequently remodelled and extended the palace to house the kingdom’s administrative institutions.
From royal palace to courthouse. The Paris Parliament – the kingdom's leading judicial body – sat at the palace. The major trials of the revolutionary court, held at the palace between 1793 and 1795, marked the transition from the Revolution to the Terror. The Conciergerie was the last prison to hold Marie Antoinette. The palace subsequently held the Republican courts, and it later became a courthouse.