Conciergerie#24 in Best Things To Do in Paris
Located next to Sainte-Chapelle, the Conciergerie was once a royal residence for various French leaders. At the end of the 14th century, King Charles V and the rest of the palace's inhabitants moved to new residences at the Louvre. The abandoned building was then turned into a new parliament and office space for the kingdom. However, during the French Revolution (and for many decades thereafter), the Conciergerie served as a prison compound to hold both political and common criminals. Most famously, it held Marie Antoinette, the fallen queen of France, in the weeks before she was executed by guillotine in October 1793. In the 19th century, Antoinette's cell was transformed into a chapel, and in 1914 the entire building was deemed a historic monument and opened to the public.
Visitors can enter the premises for between 7 and 9 euros ($8 to $10) per person. Recent travelers said the site is a delight for history buffs, especially if you take the time to read the informational plaques and watch the educational videos positioned throughout the building. Still, others noted that if you aren’t particularly interested in the French Revolution or Marie Antoinette, you may find the empty jail cells and barren halls a bit dull. What everyone seemed to agree on was the medieval architecture, which is said to be stunning both inside and out.
The Conciergerie is open every day (except Christmas, New Year's Day and May 1) from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All tours are self-guided, as lectures with a guide are only offered in French. If you plan to tour Sainte-Chapelle as well, consider purchasing a combined ticket for 15 euros (about $17). Visit the Conciergerie's website for more information.
More Best Things To Do in Paris
#1 Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris)
Note that the cathedral sustained significant damage as a result of a fire on April 15, 2019. Its wooden roof and spire collapsed during the fire. It remains closed until further notice.
Like the Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is seen as a Parisian icon. Located right along the picturesque River Seine, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is considered a Gothic masterpiece and is often regarded as one of the best Gothic cathedrals of its kind in the world. Construction of the famous cathedral started in the late 10th century and final touches weren't made until nearly 200 years later. And once you get an eyeful of the cathedral yourself, you'll start to understand why it took so long.
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