The Ile de la Cité and the Conciergerie and its neighborhood

View of the Law Courts
View of the Law Courts

Residents of Paris during the Revolution would have had difficulty recognizing the Ile de la Cité such as it exists today: a place of transit. On the contrary, during this period it was animated by a genuine working-class life, both day and night. Recognizable with its medieval towers, the Palais de la Cité housed the Paris Parliament: this was where people opposed the absolute monarchy well before 1789. Located behind the building, the Place Dauphine was one of the liveliest and most dynamic squares in the capital. Three years after the departure of the Paris Parliament in 1790, the Revolutionary Tribunal relocated to the Palais de la Cité. The Conciergerie prisons became the symbol of the Terror when Queen Marie-Antoinette was incarcerated there for more than 70 days. Nearby, the Notre-Dame Cathedral was transformed into the Temple of Reason: a Republican place of worship. Lastly, located on the other side of the Seine was les Halles: many of its merchants got involved in the Revolutionary cause.

The Ile de la Cité and the Conciergerie and its neighborhood


  • March 10, 1793

    The Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris moves into the Palais de la Cité
  • Summer 1788

    Riots break out on the Pont Neuf and the Place Dauphine in protest of the legal reform
  • September 27, 1789

    The archbishop of Paris blesses the flags of the National Guard
  • November 14, 1789

    Free people of color from the American colonies gather together near the Law Courts
  • October 31, 1790

    The Paris Parliament is closed
  • February 19, 1790

    The Marquis de Favras must do penance in front of Notre-Dame before being executed
  • August 11, 1792

    The statue of Henri IV is destroyed on the Pont Neuf
  • July 20, 1793

    Olympe de Gouges is arrested in front of the Law Court gates
  • July 16, 1793

    The Revolutionary Tribunal sentences Marie-Antoinette to death
  • October 30, 1793

    The trial of Girondins takes place in front of the Revolutionary Tribunal
  • November 10, 1793

    A Festival of Reason is celebrated at Notre-Dame
  • May 31, 1795

    The Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris is closed – trial of Fouquier-Tinville, public prosecutor for the Tribunal during the Terror
  • October 16, 1816

    An expiatory chapel is built in the Conciergerie in order to pay tribute to Marie-Antoinette
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