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This incredible theater was established by Régis Santon and five other actors in 1975. It is situated within an ancient medieval cave beneath the city streets of Paris. The plush red seats and modern lighting equipment are framed by the old stone walls, creating an enticing temporal dissonance that epitomizes modern France - the past and presents united as a vessel for French culture. Essaïon Théâtre offers a variety of productions including cabaret, theatrical productions, and tragedy as well as comedy shows.
Access to this star of the Paris theater scene is through a charming little-paved courtyard, right in the heart of the Marais quarter. The theater is there, even if the station disappeared a long time ago. Great actors have trod the boards here (Depardieu, Miou-Miou), appearing in comic and often bizarre plays. Today, although café-théâtre is a bit passé, humor and delirium play a strong part in French theater.
Situated in a part of the Palais de Justice (Law courts), the Conciergerie became Paris' first prison in 1391. Behind its medieval façade are reconstructions of cells, the 14th-century Salle des Gardes (Guardroom), the Salle des Gens d'Armes (Arms room), which is a fine example of Gothic architecture, the Cour des Femmes, where the prisoners took their daily walk, and the Bonbec Tower in which they were interrogated. During the French Revolution, almost 3000 people were locked up in these dungeons; one of them is a reconstruction of the cell in which Queen Marie-Antoinette awaited her fate at the guillotine. Several other famous prisoners were entertained here, including Charlotte Corday (politician Jean-Paul Marat's assassin in 1793), chemist Antoine de Lavoisier and poet André Chénier.