Although the Bastille is probably the most familiar Paris prison, made famous for its role in the French Revolution, arguably the most famous prison still in existence in Paris is the Conciergerie. The building began life as a royal palace, with the original structure dating back to the Merovingian empire in the 10th century. Subsequent rulers, including Louis IX (Saint Louis) and Phillipe IV (Philippe the Fair) expanded the palace structure and grounds. But as French policies and politics evolved, so did the role of the Conciergerie. During France’s Reign of Terror, the bloodiest part of the French Revolution, the building housed thousands of prisoners, most of which were eventually led to their fates at the guillotine. In the 19th century, the Conciergerie persisted as a place of confinement, this time for high-value prisoners, including Napoleon III and Marie Antoinette. In fact, the French queen’s cell exists today as a chapel dedicated to her memory. The exterior we see today is a result of a major rebuilding effort that was undertaken in 1858. Although the building was decommissioned in 1914, most of the building’s rooms are still in use for judicial functions. However, some areas are open to tourists, and the Conciergerie is well worth a visit for anyone traveling through Paris.