Good news for travellers to Paris this summer. The city has decided to open la Tour Saint-Jacques, the soaring Gothic tower in the 4th arrondissement, to visitors. Built under François I in the 16th century, the monument was once a starting point for pilgrims on the Chemin de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. At the foot of the tower is a statue of Blaise Pascal, to mark the spot where he repeated the barometric experiments he undertook on the Puy-de-Dôme in his native Auvergne.
Following a beautiful restoration in 2006-2009, the tower was opened to the public last summer for a trial period. Accompanied by a guide, visitors could climb to the top and be treated to some of the most marvelous 360-degree vistas of Paris. Not only that, but the 300-step climb afforded an opportunity to marvel, up close, at the rich architectural details and original statues.
It was such a popular success—with all time slots booked far in advance—that the tower has been reopened again this year from July 4- September 28, 2014.
The tours take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and must be booked in advance. Only 17 visitors are allowed at one time. Note that children under 10 are not allowed. For more information and for bookings, visit www.desmotsetdesarts.com. It is also possible to make bookings at the foot of the tower every day starting at 9:30, but be advised that they sell out quickly.