Tour Jean Sans Peur Tower in Paris

The Tour Jean Sans Peur is a Medieval Tower that is now classified as a museum and a historical monument in Paris that dates back to the early 1400s, and now you can discover its history and secrets for the first time.

A bit of history

There was once a mansion house built at the end of the 13th century that overlooked the walls of Philippe Auguste, which became known as the Hotel de Bourgogne in 1369 after the union of the Artois and Bourgogne families.

This large mansion house was taken over by Jean Sans Peur, or John the Fearless who was the Duke of Burgundy, and at that time he decided to have the tower built, which you can see today, as a stronghold to protect him from the civil war that ensued after he had the Duke of Orleans murdered.
Tour Jean Sans Peur facade
The Tour Jean Sans Peur Tower was constructed in the year 1409 as an annexe to the mansion house, which is where he had his own private room or bedroom along with a bathroom or latrine, and then a defensive turret was also added for even further protection of his property and possessions.

Unfortunately, as time went on, the mansion house and tower became unused and fell into disrepair and the tower itself is the only part still remaining, which was classified as a historical monument in Paris back in the 1880s.

The Tour Jean Sans Peur was then fully restored but still retained its original Medieval features, yet it was not until the year 2000, that it was opened to the public as another unusual museum in Paris that also holds temporary exhibitions relating to medieval history as well.

About the Tour Jean Sans Peur

This last vestige of the original palace of the Dukes of Burgundy is a medieval wonder that has retained its original spiral staircase and when you look back at the history of the Louvre it is thought that this staircase was inspired by the staircase constructed at The Louvre museum during the reign of King Charles V.
Even though this is not one of the grandest of monuments in Paris, it really does give a good idea of how the nobility lived and as you go to the upper floors you can discover the bedroom chambers and the latrines that have been fully reconstructed and are the oldest in Paris.

In fact, these latrines were classed as state of the art in their time and unlike those of previous periods they did not lead outside, but there was ducting in the wall that led to a pit below ground and these toilet areas were heated from a fireplace in the room the other side.  And today you can see these, even with red velvet seat covers, as they may well have been back then in medieval times.

Another, and probably one of the most incredible features of the Tour Jean sans Peur Medieval Tower is the impressive vaulted ceiling on the second floor staircase landing, where the stone has been carved showing a leafy oak tree along with vines and hawthorn.

However, when you venture down to the cellars, which is where temporary exhibitions are often held, you can also get to see a piece of the base of the original defence wall in Paris from the time of Philippe Auguste.

Now talking of temporary exhibitions, this museum in Paris always has some form of temporary exhibition being held at the Tour Jean Sans Peur Tower, whether it be furniture such as how a bedroom would have been, through to eating, cooking and food of the time, drink and wine making, etc and during 2018 a couple of these exhibitions are called Love in the Middle Ages and Hygiene in the Middle Ages.

So in a short visit, which gives you plenty of time to visit other tourist attractions in Paris, here you can discover the rich history of the tower from its creation through to its architecture, along with medieval history of Paris, what it would have been like for people like nobility in Paris at that time, and much more.
Ceiling and window inside Tour Jean Sans Peur
Old drawing of Tour Jean Sans Peur

Access to the Tour Jean Sans Peur

You can gain access to this medieval tower from 1:30pm through to 6pm on a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday in the winter months and on a Wednesday through to a Sunday from mid April to the start of November.  However, on all other days it is closed, along with any national French holidays and the period between 24th December and 2nd January.

As of 2018 the cost of entry for an individual is €6 or €10 for a guided tour, which are conducted on a Saturday and Sunday at 3pm, but we would like to point out that there must be a minimum of 5 people for a guided tour.  Yet groups can also arrange guided tours, although these are upon prior reservation, plus you can also arrange aperitifs or a breakfast at the Tour Jean Sans Peur for groups.

Accompanied children are also catered for as there are games tours offered on the tower for those aged between 4 and 12 years of age, and the temporary exhibitions for those aged between 7 and12 years old.   In addition to this, on the ground floor there is a reading area with comics and children's books on the Middle Ages.

You may also be pleased to know that the permanent and temporary exhibitions are translated into English, plus there is a summary of the story of the John the Fearless Tower that has been translated into 12 different languages including German, Italian, Spanish, etc.  In addition to these, there is also a game in English for children aged between 4 and 12 years, that is available too.
Central support column of Tour Jean Sans Peur
For those of you who have disabilities, you may be pleased to know that there is a trail at this museum in Paris dedicated to those with a hearing impairment, plus guided tours can be organised for the hearing or sight impaired.

But unfortunately, being what type of building it is, much of the tower is not accessible to the mobility impaired, although there is always a temporary exhibition located on the ground floor, which is accessible to wheelchair users.

When it comes to getting to the Tour Jean Sans Peur via public transport, you will find it located in the 2nd Arrondissement of Paris, with the nearest Metro station being called the Etienne Marcel stop serving line 4.

The Bus Line 29 is also the closest to this historical monument in Paris, yet the nearest RER train station is the Chatelet - Les Halles stop that serves the RER A, B and D lines.

Alternatively, if you walk from the tower in a westerly direction towards the Place des Victoires you can access the Bus Lines, 48, 67, 74 and 85 along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via Lines N15 and N16.