The Grand Châtelet, Prison of the Ancien Régime
The current Place du Châtelet gets its name from the fortress that still stood here in 1789. The “Grand Châtelet” then housed a tribunal: that of the Provosts of Paris. Its prisons extended along the sidewalk of the current Théâtre de la Ville. Some of the cells were even located below the Seine’s water level. The morgue was also in this building: bodies found in the street or fished from the Seine were exhibited here. During the Revolution, the Grand Châtelet stopped functioning as a tribunal, but continued to receive prisoners. Accused of preparing a royalist plot, several dozen detainees were massacred here at the beginning of September 1792.
Place du Châtelet