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Historic Paris tower opens after 500 years

Ben McPartland · 6 Aug 2013, 11:45

Published: 06 Aug 2013 11:45 GMT+02:00

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For the first time since it was built in the early 1500s the gothic Tour Saint Jacques at the heart of Paris is open to visitors.

The tower, which has been under renovation for what seemed like an eternity, has until to now simply been one of oldest kept secrets of Paris. But now the secret is out, if only for a few weeks.

The tower is the remnants of the church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie, which was destroyed by French revolutionaries in the late 18th century. They decided to preserve the tower believing it could help police and fireman watch over the city.

At 62 metres high it is hardly going to rival the Eiffel Tower for views nevertheless it can offer visitors stunning bird’s eye views of the heart of the capital, which the Iron Lady cannot.

Expect to get close up views of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Pompidou Centre but also look out for monuments further afield such as the Arc de Triomphe and La Defense.

However visitors should not expect an easy route to the top. Being 500 years-old the Tour Saint Jacques is not equipped with any elevators, but at least that means the entry fee is fairly cheap.

Access to the top of the tower, via a 300-step staircase, will set visitors back €6.

Story continues below…

However don’t be surprised if the queues to get up are as long as the tower is high. The monument is set to close on September 15 after a local organisation was given a special permit to open throughout the summer.

Organiser Remi Riviere has said that if visitor numbers are good and “no one jumps off” then he hopes to get the green light to open the Tour Saint Jacques on a permanent basis.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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