The only remaining element of a church that once stood in central Paris and the former startpoint for Christian pilgrimages southward, the St-Jacques Tower dates to the 16th century and recently underwent a dramatic restoration. The belltower, which had become a public danger due to unstable stone elements, was hidden under heavy scaffolding for years before being unveiled in its revamped glory in early 2009. It's once again become a major feature of the landscape on Paris' central right bank, and for good reason: the tower boasts stunning stained glass and statuary and looks less like an orphaned remnant of a church than a standalone monument.
St-Jacques Tower LocationSquare de la tour Saint-Jacques, 88 rue de Rivoli, 4th arrondissement
Metro: Chatelet or Hotel de Ville (Lines 1, 4, 7, 11, 14)
(Buy Paris metro passes direct)
St-Jacques Tower Visiting HoursThe tower itself is closed to the public, but the public square on which it stands affords good views and photo opportunities. The square is open daily during daylight hours, and closes at dusk.
St-Jacques Tower History
- Early 1500's: The 170-ft belltower is erected as part of the Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie Church. Although the church was built during the Renaissance, it's designed in the medieval gothic tradition. Christian pilgrims begin their journey along the Saint-Jacques de la Compostelle route here.
- 1793: The church is destroyed during the French Revolution. The remaining tower is pillaged and used as a stone quarry.
- 1836: The City of Paris acquires the tower, which becomes the centerpiece of one of the city's first public squares.
- 2006: The city undertakes an intensive restoration project on the tower.
- 2009: The fully restored tower is unveiled.