Tour de l'horloge de Beaune

Tower in Beaune

Tour De L’horloge De Beaune
CC BY-SA 2.5 / A.C. Koelewijn

The Clock Tower, located in the heart of downtown Beaune on Rue Marey, is a magnificent belfry originally constructed in the 13th century atop the foundations of an older 12th-century structure. Known locally as the Clock Tower, this historic building was designated a historical monument on August 27, 1885. Its impressive rectangular form is crowned with an eight-sided lantern and underwent significant alterations, including being raised by nearly four meters at the end of the 17th century to ensure the clock could be heard throughout the city.

In 1395, following a dispute with the Abbey of Maizières, Duke Philip III the Bold intervened, resulting in the town of Beaune purchasing the tower and an adjacent house for 200 gold francs. By November 1397, Duke Philip allocated funds from salt taxes towards installing a clock on the tower. The clock and its associated features, including a unique moon phase indicator and various decorative elements like a leaded Mercury, were enhanced and maintained over the centuries. Notably, a new clock was purchased in Paris in 1860, and the dial was replaced in 1880.

The building’s structural integrity has been a concern historically, prompting discussions of demolition in 1750. However, following public disapproval, the demolition plans were abandoned, and the tower was reinforced instead. The tower’s architecture includes a vaulted cellar with a well, a ground floor that once housed a shop, and five additional floors with beamed floors, accessed by various stone and wooden staircases. It features cushion windows on the street side and a distinctive slate pavilion roof topped by an openwork campanile covered with lead.

Since 2009, the town has been enhancing the Clock Tower’s historic allure with a nightly video animation projected onto the building. This display highlights the intricate cogs and gears of the clock, the interior structure, and whimsical elements like a cat interacting with the lights emanating from the windows. This modern touch reinvigorates the ancient edifice, blending historical preservation with contemporary celebration.

The Tour de l'horloge de Beaune appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Beaune!

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Visiting Tour de l'horloge de Beaune

Address: Beffroi de Beaune, Place Monge, Beaune, France
Duration: 20 minutes

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