The 52-meter tall, Gothic-style Tour Saint Jacques is what remains of the church of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie that used to be here.
Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie (“Saint James of the butchery“) church, which Tour Saint-Jacques was part of, was a richly decorated building, representative of the wealth of its guardians…
the wholesale butchers from Paris‘ Les Halles marketplace.
The church was under construction from 1509-1523, during the reign of King Francis I, and once completed, it was dedicated to Saint James.
PHOTO: Saint-Jacques tower, as seen from Rue Saint-Martin.
PHOTO: Mathematician Blaise Pascal used the tower (in mid-17th century) as a laboratory for tests of atmospheric pressure. Today, there is a statue of Pascal on the base of the tower, and several of his instruments at the top of the tower.
The church and its landmark tower were popular among pilgrims on their way to the city of Tours…
…and further to Santiago de Compostela, where the holy remains of Saint James the Greater, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, were (and are) stored at the city’s cathedral.
Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie church was demolished in 1797, during theFrench Revolution years (when most Paris churches were damaged or destroyed), with only the church tower remaining.
The tower was rebuilt in mid-19th century by architect Théodore Ballu, giving it a new base (and the tower regaining its original height) and a surrounding park.
At this rebuilding, a statue of Saint James was also added to the top of the tower.
Tour Saint Jacques
Address: 39, Rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris, France
Official website: equipement.paris.fr/tour-saint-jacques-5045
The beautiful tower also inspired Alexandre Dumas to write the short play “La tour Saint-Jacques-la-boucherie”, in 1856.