The Tour St. Jacques between Châtelet and Hôtel de Ville has long been a towering fixture of the Right Bank skyline. The flamboyant Gothic 16th-century tower is all that remains of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie, a medieval-style church that was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1793.
It was reborn as a bell tower, a 19th-century bullet-making factory and a 20th-century meteorological station before undergoing an €8.3 million 21st-century restoration of the facade and renovation of the park that surrounds it.
But until this summer curious passersby have only been able to speculate on what the view must look like from the top of the 200-foot-tall, intricately carved stone structure.
Open for a limited time
The tower is open for Friday to Sunday visits through September 15, 2013. Those who have already ascended the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Tour Montparnasse and other Paris look-out points in search of a great view, photo opp, or romantic place to kiss their sweetheart now have a possibly once-in-a-lifetime chance to get a new birds-eye vantage point on the city.
Note that ostensibly for crowd-control purposes, same-day reservations are required on site (the reservation office opens at 9:30 a.m.) and visits start on the hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and last 45 minutes. Then just 300 winding steps and €6 later (€3 students), and it’s just you and the gargoyles–and this breathtaking view: