The French Royal Family fascinates me. I cannot clearly pinpoint definite reasons, other than the tale of a teenage queen who was immortalized by a cliche she apparently never uttered simply stuck in my mind during my trip to Paris. Thanks to this love for French royal, I thought I would call on some blogging friends to create this round up of iconic landmarks that had some sort of significance to the young Antoinette’s life. So here are the Marie Antoinette sites that you can easily include on your trip to the French capital within your Paris itinerary 4 days plan.

Marie Antoinette Sites for Your Paris Itinerary 4 Days Plan

The Palace of Versailles

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Marie Antoinette is arguably one of the most well-known French Royalty figures. She resided at Château de Versailles from 1770 to 1789. Château de Versailles is located about 15 miles outside of Paris. It is easily accessible by train, but many visitors drive or take a tour bus.

Château de Versailles consists of a main palace, various gardens, and the Estate of Trianon. There are also a few buildings within the town of Versailles, such as the Coach Gallery. Much of Marie Antoinette’s time at Versailles was spent at the Estate of Trianon, Petit Trianon in particular. In addition, she had a replica of an English village built on the Estate, called the Queen’s Hamlet.

Palace of Versailles in Paris France
Palace of Versailles in Paris France
Credit: Frost and Sun

Marie Antoinette’s apartment in Petit Trianon is usually open for guided tours, but is closed for renovations with an undetermined finish date. The grounds can still be toured, along with the grounds of the Queen’s Hamlet.

If you only have one day on your Paris itinerary 4 days plan, I recommend visiting the main palace, then heading over to the Estate of Trianon, leaving the Gardens for last. The Gardens are typically open the latest and make for a lovely sunset spot.

Versailles Palace just outside Paris France
Versailles Palace just outside Paris France

Visiting hours and dates can change, plus many visitors are eligible for free admission, so be sure to visit the official website before going. Admission to the Château de Versailles is included in the popular Paris Museum Pass, if you don’t qualify for free tickets.

Sainte Chepelle

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An amazing example of Gothic architecture, Sainte Chapelle was built in the mid-13th century by King Louis IX. Sainte Chapelle was the private chapel of the Kings of France and accessible from the palace next door for the personal worship of the French monarchy. The palace next door is now the Conciergerie and Sainte Chapelle itself is in the Palais du Justice.
Saint Chapelle was constructed to hold Christ’s Crown of Thorns and parts of the True Cross which King Louis IX bought at a huge cost. There are 15 stained glass windows depicting over 1000 scenes from the Bible. The effect of the stained glass on the interior of the chapel even on a cloudy day is glorious. And, to think, it was just a private chapel!! No wonder ordinary French citizens were embittered at the excesses of the French monarchy.
Include Ste Chapelle in your Paris itinerary 4 days plan
Include Ste Chapelle in your Paris itinerary 4 days plan
Credit: Just Go Places

 

Sainte Chapelle suffered damage during the French Revolution but has been recently returned to its glory after an extensive 40 year long renovation. A lot of the gold ornamentation and reliquaries were melted during the French Revolution. Much of the original structure is still intact even 800+ years later.
You can buy combination tickets to the Conciergerie and Sainte Chapelle which is good value and saves you having to wait in long lines.

 

Place de la Concorde

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Location: Stohrer, 51 rue Montorgueil, Paris 2nd. Opens from 07:30 am daily

It is one of the main public squares in the heart of Paris today but Place de la Concorde has a bloody history that visitors interested in Marie Antoinette need to grapple with. During the French Revolution in 1789, the square was renamed Place de la Revolution and the new revolutionary government erected a guillotine where the current Brest stature near Hotel Crillon stands.

Place de la Concorde Should be on your Paris Itinerary 4 days plan
Place de la Concorde Should be on your Paris Itinerary 4 days plan
Credit: Constant Traveler

It was here that King Louis XVI was publicly executed on 21 January 1793. After spending her last days at the Conciergie, Marie Antionette was charged with treason and theft and she was guillotined on October 16, 1793 at Place de la Concorde. A sad chapter of French royalty had finally drawn to a bloody close.

The Place de la Concorde was used to execute nobelmen and was the highlight of the Reign of Terror that lasted until 1795. According to legend, the square was covered in ankle-deep rivers of blood months after the executions stopped.

Place de la Concorde Should be on your Paris Itinerary 4 days plan Credit: Constant Traveler
Place de la Concorde Should be on your Paris Itinerary 4 days plan
Credit: Constant Traveler

Today, however, Place de la Concorde is the biggest public square in Paris and a welcome respite from all the touristy things that the city has to offer. At the Tuileries Garden next door, you can literally put your feet up and relax after a long days’ worth of sightseeing.

 

Patisserie Stohrer

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One of the most immortal words in history, “Let them eat cake!” were proclaimed by Queen Marie Antoinette in response to women protesting at the price of bread outside the Palace of Versailles. The French Revolution and the execution of the King and Queen followed shortly after. Actually, there may be more myth to this event than fact but let’s not let that get in the way of a good story.
Marie Antoinette absolutely loved cake. So much so that when she came to France to marry the Dauphin she brought her favourite pastry chef – Nicolas Strohrer – with her. His cakes were so popular in Paris that he opened his very own store – Strohrer Patisserie – on Rue Montorgueil near Les Halles in 1730.
Patisserie Stohrer belongs in your Paris Itinerary 4 days plancredit: Tangopaso [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Patisserie Stohrer belongs in your Paris Itinerary 4 days plan credit: Tangopaso [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Amazingly, the patisserie still exists today full of delicious treats – eclairs, gateaux and the iconic baba au rhum among them. Inside, this tiny shop is as pretty as its confections. The walls are adorned with frescoes and a chandelier glitters overhead. Patisserie Stohrer is small but magnificent and fit for a queen.

 

Basilique Saint-Denis

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If you want to be in the presence of royalty, look no further than Basilique Saint-Denis. It is known as the royal necropolis of France, and for good reason: Basilique Saint-Denis served as the official burial place of royalty until the start of the French Revolution and houses the remains of 43 kings, 32 queens, 63 princes and princesses, and 10 servants to the monarchy.
An important part of French history since the 4th century, legend says that Basilique Saint-Denis is built on the remains of St. Denis, a patron saint of France who was decapitated in Montmartre and carried his head to the site where he wanted to be buried–the eventual site of the basilica today.
Basilique Saint Denis
Basilique Saint Denis
Credit: Life Well Wandered
During the French Revolution, the bodies of the monarchs were removed from their tombs and placed into mass graves. Their effigies were fortunately saved by an archaeologist claiming them as artwork for his museum. After the revolution, the remains were placed into ossuaries in the crypt of the basilica. In 1815, during Napoleon’s exile on Elba, the remains of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were moved to Basilique Saint-Denis and placed in the Bourbon crypt.
Basilique Saint Denis Credit: Life Well Wandered
Basilique Saint Denis
Credit: Life Well Wandered
If you love history, art, architecture, and/or French royalty, you must visit Basilique Saint-Denis. To get there, take Ligne 13 on the Métro to Basilique Saint-Denis. Check the website before visiting as the opening times change. There is a small fee to enter, but it is incredibly worth it if you like history, art, or architecture.

 

The Tuileries Garden/Jardin de Tuileries

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The Tuileries Garden, or Jardin de Tuileries, is a gorgeous public garden in Paris. Created by Catherine de’ Medici in 1564, it was re-imagined into its current formal style by André le Nôtre in 1664. Today, it’s a popular spot for both tourists and locals. However, it’s most famous for the events of the French revolution.

In October 1789, when King Louis XVI was forcefully brought to the adjacent Tuileries Palace, Queen Marie Antoinette got part of the garden for her own private use and it was shut to the public except in the afternoons.

The Tuileries Garden belongs on your Paris Itinerary 4 days plan
The Tuileries Garden belongs on your Paris Itinerary 4 days plan
Credit: Nylon Pink

The royal family lived in house arrest in the palace and gardens and were constantly being watched by the national guard. Marie Antoinette was followed by four guards wherever she went and had to sleep with her bedroom door wide open.

In June 1792 the garden and palace were stormed by a mob and the national guard was slaughtered. The mob accused Marie Antoinette of betraying her country and threatened to kill her. She fled, but less than two months later the royal family ended up in prison.

The Tuileries Garden is a significant place in French history and a wonderful place to visit, especially in June and August during the Fête des Tuileries. The gardens are open 11 am-1 am Friday and Saturday, 11 am-midnight the remaining days, and admission is free.

 

The Louvre Palace

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The Louvre Palace was home of the first Kings of France, from King Philippe Auguste in the XIIth century until King Louis XIV. During nine centuries, Louvre’s different hosts enlarged and embellished the royal palace with the latest architecture trends and lavish decoration. Today, in the Louvre Palace we can still Louvre’s evolution through different halls and rooms from different periods, like King Philippe Auguste’s medieval walls, or King Henry II’s Renaissance part.

In the XVIth century, the Louvre Palace was connected to Tuileries Palace, a kind of getaway palace surrounded by beautiful gardens (the Tuileries Gardens). This connection of the two palaces was done through a long gallery parallel to the Seine, the Grande Galerie. While the Louvre Palace was the place for the important meetings and decisions, the Tuileries Gardens was the place for fun and lavish parties with the court.

Louvre Palace was significant to the French Royal Family
Louvre Palace was significant to the French Royal Family
Credit: A World in Paris

In 1682 King Louis XIV relocated his family and the court in Versailles Palace, far from the troubles of Paris. Since then, all the French Kings from Louis XIV to Louis XVI had their residence in Versailles. Queen Marie Antoinette, King Louis XIV’s wife, never lived in the Louvre Palace but only used it for specific receptions or events. However, during the first days of the French Revolution, the royal family was forced to quit Versailles and were placed under arrest at Tuileries Palace. King Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette spent their last days in this palace, just in front of the Louvre, until they were moved to the Conciergerie before their execution.

 

The Conciergerie

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As an avid fan of Marie Antoinette and the French Royal family of the past, I cannot recommend the Conciergerie enough. It isn’t the most positive remembrance of this prominent French royal, but for historians or loyalists who enjoy learning of the life and times of the French royal family, a visit here should not be missed. The Conciergerie was the holding place for Antoinette before she was executed. Check out the exact jail cell where she was held captive and learn more about why she ended up there in the first place. A definite addition to any Paris itinerary 4 days plan, the Conciergerie will give you a taste of French architecture, history, and beauty.

The Conciergerie - location of Marie Antoinette's Jail Cell
The Conciergerie – location of Marie Antoinette’s Jail Cell

 

Learn about Marie Antoinette on your Paris Itinerary 4 day plan! Our post gives you the details on the best spots to learn about the French Royal Family. #marieantoinette #paris #france #paristravel #francetravel #traveltips #frenchhistory #parissites #europetravel
Learn about Marie Antoinette on your Paris itinerary 4 days plan

 

Learn about Marie Antoinette on your Paris Itinerary 4 day plan! Our post gives you the details on the best spots to learn about the French Royal Family. #marieantoinette #paris #france #paristravel #francetravel #traveltips #frenchhistory #parissites #europetravel
Learn about Marie Antoinette at these sites on your Paris Itinerary 4 days plan

 

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