The King’s City: The Disciplinary ‘Sense-scape’ of Paris in the 13th Century

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In June 2016, severe storms led to widespread flooding in northern France. The Seine reached extremely high levels, prompting the museum administration of the Louvre and the Orsay in Paris to mobilize plans to move and indeed to execute the relocation of many precious artworks from the ground floor and lower levels to the upper stories of the building complexes. 1 We live in the present, but the present relentlessly evokes the past, and for me, in preparing this chapter, the flood waters of early June brought to mind in general the high water table of the Île de la Cité, even during more typical weather. This in turn led me to think about the cluster of prisons situated in the old Châtelet on the Île de la Cité in the long 13th century, from the reign of Philip II Augustus to the advent of the Hundred Years War. The Châtelet was the great edificial complex that served as the medieval headquarters of the prévôt or royal governor of Paris. 2 It was in the Châtelet that the prévôt had his administrative offices, staffed by his personal clerk, legal personnel, notaries and other record keepers. 3 It was here that the police force (the sergeants of the prévôté) had their quarters away from home, where they gathered to receive their assignments and from which, specially arrayed, they spread out to help police the great city, usually on foot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationParis
Subtitle of host publicationThe Powers that Shaped the Medieval City
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781000904574
ISBN (Print)9781032520872
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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