The Eglise Saint-Jacques de la Boucherie was designed as a sanctuary for pilgrims and the departure point of the Via Toronensis or Tours Way route to Saint-Jacques-de Compostelle, or Santiago de Compostella in Spain.
But this particular church in Paris was destroyed shortly after the French Revolution, yet the Tour Saint-Jacques Tower was saved from this fate yet again by means of a contract that stated the tower must be preserved, even though the church was purchased for its building materials.
The Tour Saint-Jacques Tower was eventually repurchased by the City of Paris and in the 1860s it was classified as one of the historical monuments in Paris, plus it was during this century that a statue of the saint was installed on the tower, along with a small meteorological station that was installed in 1891, which is now run by Observatoire de Montsouris.
About the Tour Saint-Jacques Monument in Paris
Now the Tour Saint-Jacques stand approximately 52 metres high with its rich decoration in a flamboyant Gothic style and is situated within the small park in Paris called the Parc de la Tour Saint-Jacques, which is located along the famous Rue de Rivoli that was named after a victory of Napoleon Bonaparte against Austria at the Battle of Rivoli.
When the Rue de Rivoli was being constructed, to maintain the elevation of the tower, it now sits on a pedestal. And at the base of the Saint-Jacques tower there is a statue of Blaise Pascal who was a physicist, that commemorates the experiments on gravity and atmospheric pressure that he reconstructed after those in Puy de Dome within the Auvergne region of France.
On the corners of the tower these have statues that are symbols of the four evangelists, which are the lion for Saint Mark, the bull for Saint Luke, the eagle for Saint John and the man for Saint James. And it is on the north west corner that the statue of Saint Jacques le Majeur dominates the platform where the meteorological station is installed.
These statues, along with the gargoyles and the eighteen different statues that depict saints and adorn the walls of the Tour Saint-Jacques were all restored last century, plus through the original pilgrimage origins, it was classified within the UNESCO world heritage sites in the 1980s.
This then followed by another major restoration project of the Saint-Jacques Tower and the surrounding Parc de la Saint-Jacques, which eventually re-opened to the public in 2009.
So, this is yet another of those national historical landmarks in Paris that you can discover, when you are wandering around this fabulous city full of history.
Access to the Tour Saint-Jacques Tower in Paris
This tower in Paris is located along the Rue de Rivoli at the Parc de la Tour Saint-Jacques, which is open each day from around 8am to 6pm and can be accessed via the Rue de Rivoli, the Avenue Victoria, the Boulevard de Sebastopol and the Rue Saint-Martin.
It is situated close to the Hotel de Ville in one direction and the Palais Royal or the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the opposite direction, or, you have the River Seine along with the Ile de la Cite and the Notre Dame Cathedral in another and the Pompidou Centre in the opposite direction to this. Therefore, it is in and ideal location for exploring some of the most famous tourist attractions in Paris that are nearby, not forgetting the elegant boutiques and chic cafes around the area.
Now when it comes to public transport in Paris, you have the Metro stop called Chatelet in one direction and the Metro station called the Hotel de Ville in the other, and for this stop you would need either line 1 or line 11.
However, we would like to point out that at present, the Tour Saint-Jacques Tower is not open to public and can only be viewed from outside.
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Tour Saint-Jacques Tower in Paris
The Saint-Jacques Tower is classified as a historical monument in Paris, yet is all that remains of the a flamboyant Gothic church that was constructed in the 1500s for pilgrims on route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
A bit of history..
You will find the Tour Saint-Jacques Tower stands in a small garden in Paris called the Parc de la Tour Saint-Jacques, that is close to the Les Halles area, and this was originally constructed in a flamboyant Gothic style between the years of 1509 and 1523, which was during the reign of King Francis I and it was dedicated to Saint James the Great.
Fortunately, the tower was saved from destruction, and in the 1700s a vestige and sanctuary was built around the tower named the Eglise Saint-Jacques de la Boucherie, which translates to the Saint James of the Butchery church. And this was in relation to the wealth of the butchers and its patrons from the nearby Les Halles area and its market.