Rachel wanted to go to the Palais de la Cité (the current, Palais de Justice). Apparently upon exiting the metro, we approached the rear of the Palais. Finding only entrances open to employees, we looked for a public entrance. The entrance we found was to a site that Cheryl Jenkins recommended. The Conciergerie was built in the middle ages and occupied by the kings of France from the 10th to 14th centuries. Walking into the cavernous hall on the ground level we were impressed with their mastery of the arch. Wandering around the hall we saw four massive fireplaces that had been used to heat the space. We later learned that a staff of 2000 used the space as a dining room. We also read that at other times the palace guards and their horses were quartered in the grand hall. On the next level we saw the souvenir shop and wondered whether the Hall of Guards was the extent of what we could see at the Conciergerie. Normally the souvenir shop is at the end of the tour. We had not read about the Conciergerie before arriving. It turned out the exit of the souvenir shop was starting point for seeing the Conciergerie. As we toured about we read details about the palace turned prison. During the reign of terror it was where prisoners were held before their execution.
The most famous of the prisoners was Marie Antoinette, who was 37 when she met her fate with the guillotine. From a line drawing done immediately prior to her execution and replicas of paintings of her, it was clear she ate her share of cake. We have read she did not say, “Let them eat cake”. She was convicted of treason for her alleged loyalties to France’s enemy, Austria (where she was born and spent the first 19 years of her life). The people also believed she was involved in an attempt to purchase a diamond necklace.
Our next stop was for tea and pastries. Mrs. Campanella, Sarah’s seventh grade French teacher recommended Angelina‘s. Wow. We arrived at peak tea time. It was worth the wait.
The patrons were a mix of well dressed French, and Brits. There were a few Americans too. Animated conversations were heard at all points of the compass.
Below is a photo taken by Ella of Rachel. Two artsy photos by the twins in one day!