Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Women's Courtyard

Most female prisoners were allowed to enjoy fresh air, conversation, and diversion in this, the Women's Courtyard, attached to the Conciergerie prison in Paris.  Marie Antoinette wasn't afforded this luxury.  Exactly where her cell was located is unclear, especially because sections of the prison have been modified, but both exhibits linked to her (the mock cell and the cell attached to the chapel built in her memory by Louis XVIII during the Bourbon Restoration which is thought to be the actual site of her cell) are close to the trough-like sink, on the wall, that appears almost in the center of the picture.  The proximity of this sink, where women gathered to wash their clothing, to Marie Antoinette's cell, may have enabled her to listen to their conversation and vicariously enjoy their brief moments of sisterhood.  I hope she was able to and that it brought her consolation rather than a more lonely existence.  What I really hope is that some compassionate women were able to do what they do well - express their support and understanding.  Where would we women be without each other?

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