Palais de Justice Paris is located where justice has been delivered in Paris since the Middle Ages — prior to the current palace, from the ancient Palais de la Cité.
As an administrative building, Palais de la Cité was a royal residence for French kings from 900-1300 A.D. Of that original building, however, only the Sainte Chapelle church and Conciergerie building are what remains today.
Conciergerie was historically especially a famous prison, where, for example, Queen Marie Antoinette was held during the French Revolution (1789-1799), before her death at the guillotine. Now, it houses Paris law courts.
Sainte Chapelle, meanwhile, is known especially for being the place, where some of the most valuable treasures in Christianity were kept, including the Crown of Thorns (now at Notre-Dame de Paris).
PHOTO: Palais de Justice, as seen from “Cité” metro station’s (line M4) entrance, at rue de Lutéce.
PHOTO: Main entrance to the justice palace is through the pictured gilded gates. The palace courtyard behind the gates also acts as the exit route for visitors from Sainte Chapelle church.
PHOTO: Palais de Justice’s western facade, at rue de Harlay. At the western facade, you can see a fine range of classical sculptures, with my personal favorite being the lion statues guarding the entrance.
When King Charles V moved the royal court to the l’Hôtel Saint-Pol, role of the ancient Palais de la Cité as a judicial center diminished significantly.
However, from 16th century to the French Revolution, the palace was a meeting place for the Parliament of Paris…
…and the building’s role as a place for “justice” was resumed during the revolutionary years of 1793-1795, when Revolutionary Tribunal was stationed here.
In the national recovery period after the revolution, Palais de la Cité gained a new judicial significance, resulting in its increased usage and more people working within the premises.
To facilitate this expanded role, the old palace had to be completely rebuilt…
…with the construction work starting from the July Monarchy, according to plans by Jean-Nicolas Huyot, and resulting in the current Paris Justice Palace.
The construction work advanced very slowly and was characterized by several significant events, most notably the Paris Commune 1870-1871 and the fire of 1871…which deferred the palace’s completion date until 1883.
Palais de Justice Paris
Address: 4, Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
Official website: CA-Paris.Justice.fr
Today, Palais de Justice houses judicial offices, including premises for:
- Tribunal de Grande Instance,
- Paris Court of Appeals, and
- French Cour de cassation (the French version of supreme court).