Everyone to the Royal Treasury!
In 1789, was there really once a furniture warehouse on the large Place Louis XV? Not really. The current Hôtel de la Marine owes its name to the fact that in October 1789, when the king, the court and the government left Versailles for the Tuileries, a portion of the Ministry of the Navy relocated here. However, at this time, the building was known above all for being where the Crown’s rich collections were stored. Located right next to the Royal Palace of the Tuileries, it had contained, since 1770, precious furniture and artworks often inherited from former kings. And for that matter, the public could visit it at certain times during the year. Specifically, many weapons and pieces of armor were stored here: it was a way for the Kings of France to confirm their military power.
Hôtel de la Marine, 2 place de la Concorde
The Place de la Concorde and its neighborhood
A Palace for the Representatives of the People
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A strange sight at the Royal Treasury
“Everyone to the Royal Treasury!” On July 13, 1789, insurgent patriots had been forcefully entering the building for the past several days. Faced with imminent repression, they needed to find something with which to defend themselves. They came out again… with the French Kings’ collection of old weapons. These old helms and ancient halberds were pretty inoffensive… And yet, Parisians paraded them proudly, as if it was a carnival. The world had flipped upside down: these weapons so preciously conserved by kings were now brandished like trophies by the people in the midst of a revolution.
1792: The theft of the Crown jewels
From September 11-17, 1792, taking advantage of the chaos caused by the massacres perpetuated in the prisons of Paris at the beginning of the month, thieves entered the Royal Treasury several times. It was the robbery of the century. A large portion of the Crown Jewels was stolen, including the famous Regent, a 140-karat diamond. After a two-year search, two-thirds of the jewels were found after having been dispersed throughout Europe. However, precious objects such as Anne of Austria’s necklace or Louis XVI’s sword were never found.