Grand Châtelet

The Grand Châtelet was a stronghold in Ancien Régime Paris, on the right bank of the Seine, on the site of what is now the Place du Châtelet; it contained a court and police headquarters and a number of prisons.
The original building on the site may have been a wooden tower constructed by Charles the Bald in 870 to defend the then new Grand-Pont bridge, but it is known that Louis VI built a stronger structure in stone, a châtelet, in 1130; it was called the Grand Châtelet in contrast to the Petit Châtelet built around the same time at the end of the Petit Pont, on the south bank of the Seine. It lost its defensive purpose in 1190 when Philip Augustus built a rampart around the perimeter of the city; from then on it served as the headquarters of the prévôt de Paris, the official "charged with protection of royal rights, oversight of royal administration, and execution of royal justice" in late medieval Paris. The court of the Châtelet was always subordinate to the Parlement de Paris, but it had extensive criminal and civil jurisdiction, and treason cases were frequently tried there.
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