Among medieval masterpieces and modern day timekeepers, there’s no shortage of amazing public clocks to be discovered all through l’Hexagon. Amongst some of the most stunning is the astronomical clock of Auxerre as properly as the golded gilt clock on the side of Marie Antoinette’s former prison, La Conciergerie, in Paris. Here’s your guide to the very best of stunning belltowers (belfries), timepieces and clocks in France.
Tour de l’Horloge d’Auxerre
In the North of Burgundy, someplace on the train line amongst Dijon and Paris, Auxerre is a amazing city that is filled with quite a few essential churches. Birthplace of Saint Germain, it was right here exactly where an abbey was founded in the 5th-century and it is now right here exactly where some of the oldest Christian frescoes in France can be spied in the crypt.
The town is divided into 3 distinctive quarters, Le Quartier Saint Pierre, Le Quartier de la Marine, and Quartier de l’Horloge. As the latter district’s name would recommend, this location is property to a clock: a single of the most stunning clocks in France to be precise! The Tour de l’Horloge dates all the way back to the 15th-century and was installed at the behest of a Count of Auxerre.
Le Gros Horloge de Rouen
As the capital of Normandy, a area in Northern France, Rouen has no shortage of amazing factors to see and do. Alleged to be the spot exactly where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake and property to the cathedral exactly where the likes of Richard the Lionheart and Rollo the Viking are buried, this timber-framed city is filled to the brim with history.
Wander about the city for lengthy sufficient, and you will quickly stumble upon a single of the oldest streets the city has to give. Cobbled and filled with architecture that is reminiscent of the Middle Ages, it is also right here exactly where you will spy Le Gros Horloge de Rouen, a fourteenth-century astronomical clock that has a single of the oldest working mechanisms in France.
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Head to Musée at opening time to get the spot to oneself and to make certain the really very best pictures, of course! Stroll up the lots of flights of steps (or take the elevator) straight to the top rated floor of the former train station turned museum, and you will quickly be rewarded with a single of the very best views of Paris.
For, situated on the 5th floor of the Musée d’Orsay in a area filled with some of the most renowned impressionist art from the 20th-century (Monet and Van Gogh amongst numerous other people), a clock dominates a single wall. Dating back from the time when the Orsay train station was nonetheless in operation, from right here you can take pleasure in unparalleled views of the Seine, the Louvre Museum, and even more than towards the Sacré-Coeur.
Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux
The stunning South West city of Bordeaux is the capital of the Nouevelle-Aquitaine area and is frequently mentioned to be the city exactly where Parisians would most like to reside if they didn’t currently reside in Paris. Filled with hidden gems, breathtaking architecture, and endless day trips, Bordeaux lies in the heart of French wine nation.
Thinking of that ‘Grosse Cloche’ is essentially translated as ‘Great Bell,’ you may possibly properly be shocked to see this tower on the list of the very best clocks of France. Nevertheless, aside from the reality that this is a single of the oldest belfries in France and the bell, which dates back to 1775, weighs properly more than seven and a half thousand kilos (!), the side of the tower is also property to a excellent clock (on the South side) which has a rather uncommon semi-circular dial.
Conciergerie Clock, Paris
The oldest public clock in Paris can be discovered on the side of the Conciergerie. This constructing stands on the banks of the River Seine and has performed lots of functions more than the years. Through the French Revolution, the Conciergerie operated as a prison and was even exactly where Marie Antoinette was kept. These days, the constructing is property to the biggest Gothic Hall of its sort in Europe.
And on the side of the constructing, you will uncover a single of the most stunning clocks in Paris. Even though it may possibly not seem like it these days, thanks to a 2012 renovation and clean, the clock essentially dates back to the 14th-century! Nevertheless in excellent functioning order, the clock chimes every single hour. For these interested to know, the distinction amongst a timepiece and a clock is that a clock have to chime for it to be referred to as a clock!
So prominent is the story of the clock in the history of Ile de la Cite, that the Quay alongside the Conciergerie has considering that been named ‘Quai de l’Horloge’ in honour of the stunning timepiece. If you are seeking to discover this clock in the context of the location, be positive to take my cost-free and self-guided Île de la Cité walking tour.
Astronomical Clock of Besançon
It was right here, in an frequently forgotten city in Eastern France that is not far from the border with Switzerland exactly where some of France’s greatest names and thinkers have been born. Following all, Besançon is not only the birthplace of Victor Hugo, but is also exactly where developers of cinematography, the Lumière brothers, spent their childhood.
Elsewhere in the city, the impressive Vauban fortifications merit a complete day’s go to in their personal proper, exactly where Roman ruins can be discovered in abundance. Typically mentioned to be the greenest city in France, it is also right here in Besançon exactly where you will uncover a single of the most stunning clocks in France in the kind of an astronomical clock. Dating back to amongst 1858 and 1863, the timepiece was essentially produced to replace a 1850s astronomical clock that proved to be unsatisfactory!
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