Résumé

It was first a watchtower for the security of the royal palace, not a Tour-de-l'Horloge. It is rectangular, massive, 47 meters high. Its walls were nearly a meter thick.

The Clock Tower has undergone extensive restorations. From 1840 to 1843 to consolidate the lower part and establish a guardhouse at its foot, between 1843 and 1848, then between 1860 and 1861, and restored it to its medieval appearance, especially in its upperparts. The vaulted room on the fourth floor, was completely restored, as was the upper level of the tower, where crenellations were added that did not exist before.

The last restoration is that of the Conciergerie Monument, which will be completed in November 2012. On this occasion, the roof of the clock tower has been redone. It is a roof now brand new and gilded.

Localisation
Access
Tour de l'Horloge
1 quai de l'Horloge
75001 Paris
  • Métro - line 4 - Station Cité
  • RER line B or C - Station Saint Michel
  • Bus : 21, 24, 27, 38, 58, 81, 85, 96
Address
Tour de l'Horloge
1 quai de l'Horloge
75001 Paris
Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 22″ N 2° 20′ 44″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.85608 2.34632
Description complète

The Clock Tower: its origin as a simple watchtower

The Clock Tower (Tour-de-l'Horloge) is located at the end of the Conciergerie and close to the Palais de Justice and Sainte Chapelle. It was part of the palace of the City, residence of the kings of France since Hugues Capet. King Jean II le Bon (John II the Good) had a tower built between 1350 and 1353. It was on an old marshy ground, whose belfry was dominated by a lantern. It later became the Clock Tower of the Palais de la Cité.

It was a watchtower for the security of the royal palace, not a Tour-de-l'Horloge.

It is rectangular, massive, 47 meters high. Its walls were nearly a meter thick.

The restorations of the Clock Tower

The Tour-de-l'Horloge has undergone extensive restorations. A first campaign was conducted from 1840 to 1843 to consolidate the lower part and establish a guardhouse at its foot.

Other interventions took place between 1843 and 1848, then between 1860 and 1861, and restored it to its medieval appearance, especially in its upperparts. The vaulted room on the fourth floor, known as the White Queen's Room, reinforced on the outside by ten buttresses, still bore traces of its interior polychrome decoration: it was completely restored, as was the upper level of the tower, where crenellations were added that did not exist before, as shown in drawings from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The last restoration is that of the Conciergerie, which will be completed in November 2012. On this occasion, the roof of the clock tower has been redone. It is a roof now brand new and gilded.

The clocks of the Tour-de-l'Horloge

  • In 1370, the Tour-de-l'Horloge hosted the first public clock in Paris, built by Henri de Vic, a watchmaker from Lorraine.
  • In 1371, the Clock Tower of the Palais de la Cité was fitted with a silver bell.
  • In 1418, the city council demanded that the clock should have an exterior dial "so that the inhabitants of the city could settle their affairs day and night".
  • In 1472, important restorations of the dial were made by Philippe Brille.
  • In 1585, Henri III had a new dial put in place, framed by the well-known sculptor Germain Pilon. They were restored in 1685. The large allegorical figures representing Law and Justice, erased during the Revolution, were restored again in 1852 and 1909, dates appearing at the bottom of the dial.

Two plaques placed above and below the clock bear Latin inscriptions:

  • above: " WHO DEDITS ANTE DUAS TRIPLICEM DABIT ILLE CORONAM (He who has already given him two crowns will give him a third) ", an allusion to the crowns of Poland and France worn by the king of France of that time Henri III
  • below: " MACHINA QUÆ BIS SEX TAM JUSTE DIVIDIT HORAS JUSTITIAM SERVARE MONET LEGES QUE TUERI (This machine which makes at the hours twelve parts so just teaches to protect Justice and to defend the laws) ".

Under the small roof that houses the dial is inscribed interlaced initials (see photo): those "H" and "C" for Henri II and Catherine de Medici, and those "H" and "M" for Henri IV and Marguerite de Valois (known as Queen Margot). The little story also tells that the intertwined "H" and "C" secretly form the "D" of Diane de Poitiers, a favorite of Henri II. The less controversial attribute this D to the emblem of the House of Orleans, a crescent moon, to which the king belonged.

The current clock and the restoration of 2011-2012

The current dial is square, one and a half meters on each side. It is adorned in the center with flamboyant golden rays. It seems to be placed on the royal mantle of France on a floral azure background.

The hands in repoussé and bronzed copper, the large one in spearhead for the minutes, the small one finished in fleur-de-lis and prolonged by a counter-hand finished by a crescent for the hours, evolve on colored Roman numerals in relief on the stone.

During the great restoration campaign of the Tour-de-l'Horloge, from 2011 to the end of November 2012, the clock is restored in a state that conforms to the oldest documents available in the archives of the National Library. The gilding and paintings are redone. The most notable change is the restitution of the blue background sown with fleurs-de-lis of a different design from those of the 1686 restoration.

Static Code
[[booking]]
Open
Open 24h today
  • Monday

    Open 24h

  • Tuesday

    Open 24h

  • Wednesday

    Open 24h

  • Thursday

    Open 24h

  • Friday

    Open 24h

  • Saturday

    Open 24h

  • Sunday

    Open 24h

  • July 15, 2024 10:18 pm local time

More locations
  • No comments yet.
  • Add a review

    You May Also Be Interested In