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 Not for the faint of heart....... 
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Royalty
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Post Not for the faint of heart.......
At running the risk of being morbid..................I have to ask. I am interested in finding DETAILS of Marie Antoinette's ride in the tumbril from the Conciergerie to the Place de la Revolution for her execution. I'd have to find the source, but I read somewhere the route to the guillotine was from the Conciergerie over the Pont Neuf to rue St. Honore and down to the rue Royale where the cart turned left toward the Place de al Revolution.
Cronin states in his "Louis and Antoinette" that Marie Antoinette's ride in the tumbril lasted about an hour. What I want to know is this -
What transpired in this hour long ride? What further horrors was she subjected to? I am sure that people were screaming at her, but were they spitting and throwing things at her??? What was that last awful hour of hers like?? I have not been able to find specifics on this - didn't someone who eyewitnessed this event record it? Please advise me as to where I might find the details if anyone knows.


I already know that some will find this topic very disturbing, but I tried to warn you in the subject box! Sorry!


Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:32 am
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
Through varied sources I've learned just a few things about that tragic ride. First of all, she was upset to see a tumbrel to transport her; she was terrified that the crowd would, "tear me apart." She asked for a coach, "like my husband had." It was denied. Just before boarding the tumbrel, she had to go to the bathroom; the guard told her to, "do it over there" and pointed to the sidewalk. She squatted on the pavement and urinated.

At the beginning of the ride, several witnesses expressed surprise that the crowd was so silent. Just the sound of the donkey's hooves on the street could be heard. Perhaps the crowd was so shocked at the sight of their once beautiful queen in rags being hauled in a garbage cart they were at a loss for words. The crowd got noisier and more threatening as the ride progressed; shouts of, "kill the Austrian whore" were common. An occcasional, "Your Majesty" was heard. There was silence in the tumbrel; Marie Antoinette refused to speak to the priest since he was 'non-juring' (had sworn his allegiance to the constitution). Her request for a 'juring' priest was denied.

A few who attended her trial were also witness to her execution. One fool misinterpreted her dignity, strength and refinement by stating, "Look at her; insolent to the end."


Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:22 am
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
There are a number of good accounts of this journey. It lasted an hour because of the dense crowd. The cart left the Cour de Mai of the Conciergerie prison (now Palais de Justice), one can still see the steps of the courtyard she walked up to the tumbril. The cart moves out at eleven fifteen on to the rue de la Barillerie, crosses the Pont du Change over the Seine, turns left along the Rue St. Honoré. This long road, still quite authentic and similar today with many of the sights that the Queen saw still standing, leads right to the Rue Royale, from which the Place de la Révolution (Place de la Concorde) is to the left. Grammont, a cheap comedian mounted on horseback, was hired to harangue the strangely subdued crowd. Thirty thousand troups are lined up along the route! The Queen knows the rue st Honoré well, having often taken that route on her Parisian evenings out at the Opéra. On the steps of the Oratoire church (still there) a mother holds up her child who smiles at the Sovereign. She nearly loses her composure. At one of the windows of a house on the Rue St Honoré (sill there) David does his wonderful terrifying sketch of the absent distant Queen. On arriving on the Place de la Concorde she is greeted by ironic applause and shouts of Long live the Republic. She casts a look over at the Tuileries gardens where she walked with her family during her captivity....seven minutes later she is no more. A friend at the Marie Antoinette association does this walk with commentary, and I plan to do it with him. He knows all the contemporary buildings of the time, and events of this interminable journey. It is not morbid, more of a pilgrimage.

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Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:10 pm
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
Hi Baron! And thanks to you too Artois for the information. I am going to take this walk when I'm in Paris!!!! How sad about the little child smiling and Marie Antoinette almost losing it - she must have thought of her own children at that moment, knowing they would never see one another again.
Almost makes me cry.


Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:25 am
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
I would also like to do that walk when I next go to Paris...Yes, it's a kind of pilgrimage.
Thank you both, Artois and Baron for your well-informed accounts...
Baron, readig your post, one has the impression of actually being there!

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Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:37 pm
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
yes, doing the 'walk' will bring you closer to her.

if you're in paris, it will be an obligation.


Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:18 am
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
Here are a few printed accounts:

http://books.google.com/books?id=FyMQAA ... e&as_brr=1

http://books.google.com/books?id=zyldAA ... e&as_brr=1

http://books.google.com/books?id=0C0oAA ... e&as_brr=1

http://books.google.com/books?id=gF5EAA ... =&as_brr=1

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Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:41 pm
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......


thanks for these. very touching reads.


Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:24 pm
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
It was a damp and chilly morning in Paris on October 17th. Outside the entrance of the Concierge near the gates of the Palace of Justice, I waited to meet with Baron de Batz and Marja Vera. Baron had invited me along for the walk that he mentions in his post above.
This experience turned out to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was a truly incredible day. We started out about 10 a.m. in what turned out to be about a six hour journey through the past. Totally dedicated to the Queen. We followed the route Baron describes, stopping many times along the way for valuable bits of information which would have remained unknown without the expertise of our wonderful guide! We wandered into several courtyards (none of which I ever would have walked into on my own) - saw such things as the steps where the woman held up the baby, the balcony where David sketched his famous picture of Marie Antoinette on her way to execution. We also learned that the tumbrel was stopped for ten minutes in front of a church apparently to prolong this horrifying ordeal. Our guide said that it actually took two hours for the journey from the Concierge to the Place de la Revolution.

This experience takes care of what I was wondering when I posted this topic. I now know the route taken and what the Queen saw on her way. I know of some of the mean and nasty things said and done to her. The site of the scaffold was also in a different place than I thought it was. All in all, this and meeting Baron de Batz and Marja Vera was the highlight of my Paris trip! I’ll never forget it. Baron, a special thanks for including us in this more than memorable day!!


Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:10 am
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
It could be a very determining experience for you! Procession of Marie Antoinette, it is touching and respectful.
If you have pictures about this trip, don't hesitate to post them! :wink:

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Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:20 am
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
Well indeed it was quite a special walk and one I had been waiting to do for a long time. To stand in the very courtyard that the Queen stood in in the Cour de Mai at the Conciergerie, waiting to walk up the very steps she walked up, was quite an emotional feeling. We even contemplated the corner of that little courtyard where was obliged to relieve herself...

This walk was a complete eye opener for me, in as far as I learnt that the Rue St. Honoré, the main street that the tumbril rolled painfully along, has changed very little since that day and great parts of the buildings are contemporary to that time, so witnessing the tortuous passage of the Sovereign Queen. The wrought iron balcony that David did his famous sketch from is indeed placed at the corner of the Rue st. Honoré that the tumbril turned onto, giving the artist time to make his sketch as the carriage slowed, and presenting the Queen's left profile to him, as she had her back to the direction she was travelling. It was all so real that one really had the impression of travelling back in time to that day.

Other highlights were Robespierre's house, from whose window he could contemplate the carriages rolling past bearing victims he himself had condemned, a wall of the Convent of the Feuillants where the hapless Royal family and their closest aides spend the two nights after the 10th August siege of the Tuileries, the house where Lafayette was married, a reception which MA attended, a pharmacy regularly frequented by Fersen. We also visted the entrance hall and staircase of a superb 18th mansion and stopped in front of the magnificent Church of st Roch, where the tumbril stopped for ten minutes to enable a committee of female veterans of the march on Versailles of the 5th October to harangue the Queen and deploy their stupid insulting banner.

As for the site of the execution, that we located precisely to the accuracy of a square yard! Lilly may just have missed some of this stuff because what she didn't say is that she, her friend and Marja Vera were in fact three naughty giggling schoolgirls and I kept having to shoo them along!!!! :lol:

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Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:28 pm
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
Oh my! It is so interesting! Next time I visit Paris, I have to do the same walk. What was the weather like that day? Was it cold?

As for rue St. Honoré, a couple of years ago I stayed in a hotel there... and at that time I didn't know a thing about Marie Antoinette's last awful journey was there... now I would consider that quarter in a different way.

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Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:16 pm
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
Oh Baron! I am laughing so hard......but must admit I'm guilty! We had so much fun that day - sorry you had to prod us along, but we're girls - and naughty schoolgirls at that!!

Here's a picture of the steps Marie Antoinette was led up to the tumbril.


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Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:41 pm
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
Another picture of the steps and the area that the Queen backed into to relieve herself.


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Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:44 pm
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Post Re: Not for the faint of heart.......
baron de batz wrote:
Lilly may just have missed some of this stuff because what she didn't say is that she, her friend and Marja Vera were in fact three naughty giggling schoolgirls and I kept having to shoo them along!!!! :lol:


Well... :angel5:

I fully agree with Lilly, we had so much fun!

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Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:52 pm
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