So I was particularly excited to find out last week that this summer Tour Saint Jacques was open to the public for the first time in 500 years! I knew that we had to do it. There is a rather intricate ticketing system, but it was actually easy enough in the end. The French language website is here.
The English language version is this:
Guided tours are available Friday/Saturday/Sunday from 5/7/13 to 15/9/13.
They take up to 17 people per hour so it doesn't get too packed up the top. They don't take kids under 10. It's 300 steps up a rather steep, narrow spiral staircase.
You have to book in advance. You can telephone on Thursday between 10 and 12 Paris time, or go to the tower at 0930 on the day that you want to do the tour. Which is what we did. Much easier than trying to talk to someone French in French on the phone (I can think of nothing more terrifying). There was only a short line on the day we went, and within 10 minutes we were booked onto the 11am tour.
It's a fantastic tour and totally worth the 6 euros (or 3 euros for students/unemployed/handicapped)-indeed it's a real bargain.
The tour is fully escorted and takes 50 minutes. It's in French. It's still totally worthwhile even if you don't know a word of French according to the male members of the Wicker party.
|Our lovely French guide had clearly mastered|
Intricate Scarf Tying at an early age
Tour Saint Jacques was built between 1509-1523. Originally attached to a church, the church didn't survive the revolution, and so now the tower stands alone in a pretty square on the Rue de Rivoli.
The tower has been restored several times over it's life, from the 19th century to today. Most recently an 8.3 million Euro restoration from 1999 to 2009.
|There appeared to be a rather long discussion on the difference between |
chimera (on the left) and gargoyles (on the right)
which I may not have fully followed
water does spout from the gargoyles mouth but not the chimera
|It's nice to see old friends pop up in unexpected place|
Tour Saint Jacques has actually had a number of uses over the years
|Foucault is said to have experimented with pendulums here too|
(as well as at The Pantheon)
|Being used as an observatory|
Which is why the major statue at the base is a somewhat unexpected Blaise Pascal.
The walk is conducted in 3 stages. The first two fairly easy stages take us up to rooms within the tower.
|Looking up within the tower|
The third climb is really quite long and it was quite a relief to get to the top.
Only 294 more to go...
It was a hazy old day, but the views of Paris were sensational. Breathtaking actually.
|even if some of it isn't pretty|
|most of it is though|
|Can the views from Notre Dame really be any better?|
Is their very length queue going to be worth it?
|Weeping angel seen from on high|
Paris in July a glorious celebration from all things Parisian from
Dreaming of France a fabulous weekly meme
from Paulita at An Accidental Blog