The impact that the French Revolution in 1789 had on western civilization cannot be underestimated.
It is in large part the foundation for how most of our governments work today and it is remembered each year on July 14th all over France during their national holiday, Bastille Day.
But this crucial movement did not happen without a painful quota of death and violence which can be remembered and better understood by visiting some of the sites where it took place.
Sites of the French Revolution in 1789
So let’s finish our circuit with the remaining four sites, some of which will really make you appreciate what you have today and how many people suffered to get here.
Historical site 3: The Tuileries Palace
It was built by Catherine de’ Medici in 1564.
The palace was destroyed in 1871, but at the time of the French Revolution in 1789 it was used to hold the royal family under surveillance.
Historical site 4: La Conciergerie
She was beheaded on October 16 at Place de la Concorde after being charged with treason and with the sexual abuse of her 8-year-old son, which according to historians was a false accusation.
You can visit La Conciergerie on the west of the Île de la Cité, near the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Only a small portion of the palace can be visited because much of it is still used for official purposes.
A visit to La Conciergerie can be quite overwhelming, you can see the list of those who died in the guillotine, the actual cell of Marie Antoinette (now a modest prayer room) and a recreation of what her cell and other inmates’ cell would’ve looked like.
General entrance to this site is included in the Paris Museum Pass.
Historical site 5: Place de la Concorde
It was a gift from the government of Egypt to France in the 19th century.
Designed in 1755 and originally named Place Louis XV to honor the king at the time, it was renamed Place de la Révolution during the French Revolution.
It was here that the guillotine was erected and where thousands of people were killed during the Reign of Terror.
The square was later renamed as Place de la Concorde under the Directory as a symbol of reconciliation after the Revolution.
Historical site 6: Basilica of St Denis
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis was built during the Gothic architecture movement concentrating in light, height and vaulting in the 12th through 13th century (1135-1144).
It had been called the first Gothic masterpiece, especially when referring to the choir.
It is the burial place of the French kings and members of their court. Saint Denis is the patron saint of France and the first bishop of Paris.
As legend has it, Saint Denis’ corpse picked up his head after being beheaded and carried it to the site of the present church of Saint Denis.
On January 18, 1815 the bodies of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were exhumed and then were given Christian burial at the necropolis of French Kings on January 21st inside the Basilica.
Saint Denis is located at the north of Paris and getting there is an easy 30 minute ride from downtown.
However, you should also make a point to recognize the fabulous architecture and its details.
By the way, the Basilica used to have two towers, until the left tower was struck by lightning on the 19th century and had to be removed.
Ok, that’s my recommendation for a fascinating tour of French Revolution historical sites in Paris.