City of Paris France Free History Monument Outdoors Paris Parisian Tourist

Tour Saint Jaques

As long as I had been in Paris, the Tour Saint Jaques had been under scaffolding, and hidden by the screens that cover them. I had no idea what was underneath all that white. A complete mystery to me, I heard that it had been under scaffolding since 2001 waiting for the argument over who was to pay for the restauration to come to a conclusion. Finally in 2007 the tower started to shed it’s heavey coat and reveal it’s gorgeous gothic head.

I was particularly looking forward to seeing whatit looked like, having never seen it. And when it was finally uncovered I was thrilled to see such a gem from the middle ages. It’s been cleaned and has a lovely creamy white color, and sticks out gloriously against the blue sky.

The tower is what remains of a church called Saint-Jaques-de-la-Boucherie which was founded in the 12th century, apparantly ordered by Charlemagne, but this has never been confirmed. The tower was added in the 16th century (flamboyant gothic style, which I find a little odd for that century which was suddenly preoccupied with Italian style architecture and the Renaissance was about to happen, but perhaps the got a discount from an architect who was having a promotion on anything retro styled… It was designed by these three guys : Jean de Felin, Julien Ménart et Jean de Revier.

It seems that this tower held a relic of Saint Jaques, and was a place of pilgrimage. The tower fell under the ownership of the city of Paris in 1836, and in 1862 was classified as a historical monument.

There is a lovely garden surrounding it, where you can sprawl out, or sit under a tree, or snuggle on one of the park benches. You can’t go up the tower, but you can sit in it’s shade and enjoy its beauty.

Access it on rue de Rivoli, in the 4th and on the edge of the 1st arrondissements. the closes metros are Châtelet and Hôtel de Ville.
the square below it is open at 8:00am on weekdays and 9:00am on weekends and holidays. It closes at 8:30pm from May 1st to August 31st. After that date, I am not sure, but I am assuming it closes earlier (probably around sundown).


    1. Last week I walked from the Pompidou Centre to Hotel de Ville and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the Tour Saint-Jacques. I’ve been travelling to Paris for over 40 years and somehow it had fallen under my radar. They have done a wonderful job restoring it and the gardens surrounding it are just lovely

  1. Yay! Finally! I first say it in 2007 – hidden away behind white curtains. When I inquired about it, I was told no one could visit it, so I lost interest. My last week in Paris this June, I noticed that there had been some changes in the scaffolding, I didn’t even recognize it as the same tour I had seen hidden behind the white curtain four years earlier, but was too busy to investigate on my own. I’m so glad you posted this and can’t wait to check it out for myself in August! 🙂

  2. The pelgrims would meet there before going on their way to Saint Jacques de Compostelle in Spain and having prayed at the Sainte Chapelle, on the other side of the bridge, as to worship the relics of Jesus Christ. This tower, in recent days, used to host pelgrim faucons. When the work was in progress, they left for Notre Dame or higher buildings in the neighbourhood. That’s how I ended up with a baby faucon at my window! bless him!

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  4. I am missing Paris so much, I feel like I’ve become completely allergic to life in the UK and need to be sur le plage!

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