The Scariest Part Of The Catacombs Is The Line. Visit This Underrated Destination Instead

Paris might be known as the City of Light, but also has a dark side. Attractions like Pere Lachaise and the Catacombs draw in tourists looking for an experience outside the norm. The latter, found beneath the streets of Paris, is home to 6 million skeletons. Needless to say, it is it's incredibly popular. Individuals can sometimes wait in line for up to three hours at the Catacombs. Ultimately, this can throw a wrench in your itinerary.

If you're looking for a place in Paris that isn't overrun with tourists, the Conciergerie is for you. Located close to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Conciergerie is one of the best museums to visit in the city. The opulent structure dates back to the 1200s and was once used as a palace by French royalty, known as the Palais de la Cité. However, in 1391, the Conciergerie became a prison, which later had a notable role in the French Revolution.

Those who were believed to be against the revolution were arrested and thrown into the Conciergerie. This included French Queen Marie Antoinette, who was imprisoned here from August 1793 until her execution in October of that year. The Conciergerie has not been a prison since 1934 and is now a destination where visitors can explore the historic site and learn about French Revolution prisoners.

What's on display at the Conciergerie

According to the Conciergerie's website, the institution had 4,000 prisoners during the French Revolution. The Conciergerie honors them through its Hall of Names, where visitors can see the names of those individuals written on the walls. Information about these prisoners is available via an interactive display. If you're interested in learning more about the Conciergerie's time as a prison, there is a reconstruction of cells in what is known as the prisoner's corridor.

As aforementioned, Marie Antoinette spent her final days at the Conciergerie. In 1816, her former cell was turned into a monument now known as the expiatory chapel. Various items belonging to Marie Antoinette can be viewed by visitors, including her camisole and a reliquary cross. Beyond this, the Conciergerie has medieval and gothic architecture to appreciate.

Several spaces were built in the 1300s, including the royal kitchens and the room of the Gens d'Armes. The latter, which looks straight out of a "Harry Potter" movie, was once used as a massive dining room when the Conciergerie was still a royal residence.

Furthermore, the Conciergerie uses an interactive tool called Histopad (seen in the TikTok above) to show visitors what a specific room looked like in the past. The 3D renderings heighten the overall experience at the museum.

Know before you go to the Conciergerie

The Conciergerie is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. except for May Day and Christmas Day. Tickets can be purchased online at around $14, and a date and time for a visit must be chosen at checkout. Admission covers the rental of a Histopad.

Likewise, those under 18 can visit the Conciergerie for free. And if you're on a budget, free admission is available to all on the first Sunday of January, February, March, and November. As with most other tourist attractions, visitors to the Conciergerie will have to go through security.

If you need something else to fill your day during a visit to the museum, take a seven-minute walk to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Although it won't reopen until December 2024, visitors can still see the iconic monument and take photos.

Next to the Conciergerie is Sainte-Chapelle. The Gothic cathedral was built in the 1200s and is known for its magnificent stained glass windows. Visitors can buy a ticket online that allows entry to both the Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle for about $22. Lastly, the Conciergerie is located on the Seine and, as such, is perfect for a scenic walk on the water.