For all of you Marie-Antoinette aficionados out there, the Centre des Monuments Nationaux has quietly launched a special new Pass’ Marie Antoinette good for four lesser-known monuments in and around Paris that have a strong connection to the young French queen.
Château de Rambouillet: This charming royal residence between Versailles and Chartres (accessible via regional train from Montparnasse station) is known for its vast gardens, with a Rococco Shell Cottage and the Queen’s Dairy House. Only part of the actual chateau is open in 2016 while it undergoes renovations. Open daily except Tuesdays. This is a nice little town to visit on a sunny day.
La Conciergerie: The prison on the Ile de la Cité in central Paris where Marie-Antoinette spent her final months before her trial and death at the guillotine. Open daily 9:30am-6pm.
La Chapelle Expiatoire: This chapel stands in the park where the bodies of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI were originally buried in a mass grave during the Revolution. Note that the inside of the chapel is currently only open May 2nd through September 30th on Thursday-Saturday from 11am-6pm (until 7pm in July and August).
Saint-Denis Basilica: This basilica where Marie-Antoinette was finally laid to rest during the Restoration Monarchy is where all but three of the French monarchs are buried. It’s in the suburb of St-Denis, accessible by metro line 13. Open April- September 10am-6:15 pm, Sundays noon to 6:15pm; October to March 10am to 5pm, Sundays noon to 5:15pm.
How it Works
You get the pass on request when paying the full rate at the first monument, allowing you the discounted rate at the remaining three monuments. It’s a nice alternative for everyone who has already “done” Versailles or anyone who wants to avoid crowds and save a few euros.
All these places are very interesting to visit… the one place I am missing is the supposed secret apartment on Rue Royale.Also, the book is "The Lost King of France: How DNA Solved the Mystery of the Murdered Son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette" by Deborah Cadbury. It's a very fascinating and heart wrenching read.
When we visited the tombs of Marie Antoinette and Louis , we were surprised to see a single red rose on the marble slab covering the final resting place of Marie. It was the only tribute in the crypt area. There is an alcove nearby holding the heart of her youngest child – the lost prince. I believe his identity was verified just a few years ago and is the subject of a most interesting book – the name of which escapes me.J'adore Paris and hope to return for visit #10 next April.