Temple (Paris)

Temple (Paris)

The Temple was a medieval fortress in Paris, located in what is now the IIIe arrondissement. It was built by the Knights Templar from the 12th century, as their European headquarters. In the 13th century it replaced earlier works of the Vieille Temple (Old Temple) in Le Marais. Parts of the fortress were later used as a prison.

The enclosure (called "enclos du Temple") originally featured a number of buildings important to the running of the order, and included a church and a massive turreted keep known as Grosse Tour (great tower), and a smaller tower called Tour de César (Caesar's Tower). The fortress was destroyed in the 19th century; today the Temple Paris metro stop stands on the old location. The heavy doors of the Grosse Tour still exist and are kept at Château de Vincennes whose great keep (attributed to Raymond du Temple) is speculated to have been inspired by the nearby Templar fortress. [cite book|last=Lorentz|first=Phillipe|authorlink=|coauthors=Dany Sandron|title=Atlas de Paris au Moyen Âge|publisher=Parigramme|date=2006|location=Paris|pages=238 pp|isbn=2840964023]

French Revolution

The Temple is notorious for having been the French royal family's jail at the time of the Revolution. The royals imprisoned at the Temple's tower were:
* King Louis XVI, who on 21 January 1793 was taken from there to be guillotined at the Place de la Révolution;
* Marie Antoinette, taken on 1 August 1793 from the Temple's tower to the Conciergerie, from where she eventually was also taken to the guillotine;
* Madame Élisabeth, who stayed for 21 months at the tower before being taken on 9 May 1794 to the Conciergerie and guillotined the following day;
* Louis XVII, who reportedly died at the tower on 8 June 1795, at the age of ten.
* Princess Marie-Thérèse, who stayed at the tower for three years and four months before being sent into exile.

In 1808, the Temple having become a place of pilgrimage for royalists, Napoleon ordered most of its demolition, which took two years. The rest of what was left of the Temple was ordered demolished by Napoleon III around 1860. Today this place is now a stop-over of the Paris Metro,the carreau du temple and the Palais de Justice (Courthouse) of the third arrondissement.


In Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin and a young Lithuanian, Jagiello, are held prisoner at the Temple Prison during itsdeconstruction.


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