Rising above the roofs of the Quai de l’Horloge on the Ile de la Cité, the twin towers of the Conciergerie struck horror into the hearts of thousands for over five centuries. Originally built to house Philippe-le-Bel’s caretaker and palace guards, by 1391 it was functioning as a prison and continued as such until 1914. Before entering, stop at the corner to look at the Tour de l’Horloge, which incorporates Paris‘s first public clock. Commissioned by Charles V in 1371, it is set against a constellation of gold fleur-de-lys, the surrounding sculptures of law and justice were added in the 16th century.
A bell that rang for three days following the birth of any royal babe could not really toll for the revolutionaries, so in 1793 a new silver bell was installed.