A must-see

article | Reading time3 min

The Royal Palace and its admirable Gothic architecture

Admire the numerous ribbed vaults, the preserved immensity of the Salle des Gens d'Armes, the vast fireplaces or the traces of the old geminated windows and the sculpted capitals that make up the medieval circuit of the Palais de la Cité.or the traces of the old geminated windows and the sculpted capitals which compose the medieval circuit of the Palais de la Cité.

Two symbols of the power of the first palace of the kings of France

The room of the Gens d'Armes

This immense room of 1785 m ², is used in the Middle Ages as refectory. The Salle des Gens d'Armes remains today the largest Gothic civil hall in Europe

Built by Philippe IV le Bel between 1300 and 1314, its plan with 4 naves, separated by pillars, covered the same surface as the Grand'Salle (ceremonial room), located on the second floor and disappeared following a serious fire in 1618.

On the left wall, you will notice a fragment of the black marble table, used during the sumptuous receptions that the Capetian monarchy gave in the Grand'Salle. The two floors were connected by spiral staircases at the corners, one of which is still visible.

1,000 to 2,000 royal servants and soldiers ate every day in the Salle des Gens d'armes. The room was heated in the Middle Ages by 4 large fireplaces. Men-at-arms and staff from the King's Palace met all day long in this room, which was always busy and noisy. It was also used to store weapons, foodstuffs, firewood and even as a dormitory.

Salle des Gens d'armes

Benjamin Gavaudo - Centre des monuments-nationaux

The Guards' Room

Contemporary to the Salle des Gens d'Armes, the Salle des Gardes served as the first floor of the Grand'Chambre on the first floor, now disappeared, where the Parliament of Paris sat under the Ancien Régime. The king held there the "Beds of Justice", that is to say the most solemn hearings of justice.
The two naves of the Salle des Gardes, vaulted on ribbed ceilings, are separated by a row of richly sculpted pillars. The capital of the central pillar represents Heloise and Abelard, the mythical couple of the Middle Ages.

Under the Capetian dynasty (987-1328), the Guard Room was used for the close guard of the sovereign.

When Charles V left the palace (14th century), it was converted into dungeons, assigned to the justice of the Concierge.

The Grand'Chambre was replaced in the 18th century by the Revolutionary Court during the Revolution.

La salle des Gardes

Benjamin Gavaudo - Centre des monuments-nationaux

also to discover