8 December: Paris -- Medieval & Revolutionary Paris

We divided our first full day in Paris between Revolutionary Paris and the medieval area in the Marais. Dr. Bard led the Revolutionary charge, while Dr. Fowler and Michael Osman unraveled the mysteries of the Marais for us.

The Revolutionary tour included the Conciergerie Museum on Ile de la Cité. Originally built as a royal palace, it became a prison in 1391. During the French Revolutionary period, almost 3,000 men and women were sentenced and detained there until their death by guillotine at the center of Place de la Concorde.

Place de la Concorde's current name belies its bloody history as the site of the guillotine. Constructed in the 18th century, It was first called Place Louis XV and then Place de la Révolution, finally changing to its present name.

We visited the Marais to learn about city life in the medieval era. We were also visiting "our" house, that we had read about in Alex Karmel's "A Corner in the Marais" and learning about the construction of medieval houses.

But, of course, there was time for window shopping -- we found these pistachio flavored "mice" cookies rather charming.

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