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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

Medieval Palaces


13th-14th century


In the 8th century, power shifted away from the Merovingians (Clovis's dynasty) to the Carolingians (Charles Martel and Charlemagne's dynasty).

Charles Martel had initially been an administrator for the Merovingians.

The Carolingians were extremely powerful and expanded eastwards.

Charlemagne, Charles Martel's grandson, shifted the capital from Paris to Aix la Chapelle.

Paris only regained its political importance when a new family took over - the Capetians, founded by Hugues Capet.

The Capetians became one of the longest ruling families in Europe, ruling uninterruptedly from 987-1792, and 1814-1848!

The Capetians made Paris their capital and Paris went from being a provincial city to one of the richest and most vibrant medieval cities in Europe.

Louis IX built the Sainte Chapelle on the Ile de la Cité, to host his collection of holy relics, which included part of the Holy Cross and the Crown of Thorns.

The heart of Capetian power until the 14th century was a royal palace on the Ile de la Cité - remains of which can be seen today at the Conciergerie.

Part of the Conciergerie's great hall dates back to the 14th century.

The upper room, the Grand'Salle, was used for judiciary proceedings and receptions.

It's one of the largest non-religious Gothic halls in Europe.

It was 60m long, with two naves, pillars with statues of Frankish kings and a large black marble table - part of which remains today.

The lower room, the Salle des Gens d'Armes, was the refectory, and could host 2,000 people.

The central towers of the Conciergerie date back to this period.