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The Tour Saint-Jacques, a remain of the Middle-Ages in the city center

October 10, 2012

After years of renovation by the most talented French craftsmen, the huge white tarpaulin that covered the Saint-Jacques Tower was removed a couple of years ago to unveil an often overlooked Parisian landmark. The Saint-Jacques tower is located in a small square, the “Square Saint-Jacques” by the overcrowded rue de Rivoli and within a stone’s throw from the City Hall and the Chatelet les Halles district. The tower, now a glittering building, was in serious danger of collapsing. It took almost 10 years to give it back its past splendor, when it was a part of the “Saint-Jacques de la Boucherie” Church. The Church was built at the start of the 12th century but was demolished 6 centuries later after the French Revolution. The tower was saved from demolition as it was rumored to be the place where Blaise Pascal confirmed his theory of gravity. His statue can still be seen at the bottom of the tower.

The Tower made it to the Unesco World Heritage List in 1998 as one of the starting points for the pilgrim routes to Santiago del Compostella. The tower’s façade is ornated by “gargouilles” and 18 statues of famous saints among whom the 4 evangelists.

The Saint-Jacques square is probably the best place to admire the Tower. Created in 1856, it is Paris’ oldest official square and is a nice location to rest from the turmoil and activity of the rue de Rivoli.

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