Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tour du Saint Jacques

We spent a lot of time on the metro and from just about every exit from Les Halles, you can see this tower with its somewhat uneven decoration on top. I assumed it was part of a church and I was interested in seeing it up close to determine how many times that tower had been changed. When we finally got to its base...there was no church. Definitely full of history, the tower was originally part of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie, the patron church of the Butcher's guild and a popular pilgrimage church on the way to Santiago de Compostela. Built between 1509-1523, it's definitely in the Flamboyant Gothic, late gothic style. Demolished during the Revolution, the tower was used as Pascal's lab for understanding atmospheric pressure. In the 19th century, the tower was restored and placed onto a pedestal to achieve its original height. At the same time, the statue of Saint James the Great got placed on top making the unevenness that caught my eye and probably beloved it to the Surrealists.

all those nooks and crannies, thanks Flamboyant Gothic!

the slightly out of place 19th century Saint James statue

the more standard but quirky other gargoyles

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