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The oldest clock in Paris has been located in the same spot ever since it was erected in 1370. Wow, doesn’t time pass quickly…

Okay, enough poor puns! Located on the corner of an obscure side of the Conciergerie, you’d be forgiven for not even noticing the oldest clock in Paris’ presence. This is particularly because if you’re passing by it, then you’re likely rushing off to see the nearby Sainte-Chapelle!

But that’s not to say that this shining clock should be ignored… The ornate golden-gilt clock is everything that you’d expect from Medieval France. That is to say, it’s lavishly decorated with the greatest attention to detail: sumptuous colours are highlighted with oodles of gold. It even chimes precisely on the hour! It also helps that the clock was given a clean in 2012, making it seem a lot newer than its 700 years!

The home of the clock, the Conciergerie, has had a pretty interesting history too! Situated on Île de la Cité, the Conciergerie has a long and violent history. It is where Marie Antoinette was held prisoner during the french revolution before her execution. Prior to this, when the clock was actually erected, the building was the site of a French palace.

oldest clock in paris

Why was the oldest clock in Paris originally installed?

Firs things first: the clock may or may not be the first public clock in Paris. The reason for this being is that this clock is the only one to have survived wars, revolutions and the ravages of time. There may have been others that didn’t quite manage to stand the test of time…

The clock was installed at a time when no one could afford their own clocks and wristwatches hadn’t even been invented yet, let alone mobile phones. Erected for the benefit of the public, the clock enabled Parisians to know when shops should be opened and closed.

The clock has been cleaned and restored a number of times throughout its life. The first time was in the 1500s, while its most recent clean was in 2012. The bell that chimes isn’t original as that one was melted down during the French Revolution. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure that it’s safe to say that in some respects, this little corner of the city has stood still for millennia!

So next time you’re wandering Île de la Cité, make sure you don’t forget to look up! Finally, the clock also isn’t far from the Gravestone Courtyard on Île de la Cité so be sure to check that out if you’re in the area…

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Tanja (the Red phone box travels)

Wednesday 14th of December 2016

so beautiful! I missed it when I was in Paris...

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