This beautiful tower is all that remains of the ancient late-gothic church Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie (Saint James of the Butchery), built 1509-23. This was obviously a butchery area some centuries ago. The church building was demolished in 1797 – during the revolutionary years - and the stones were used as building material elsewhere, but fortunately the tower was saved.
It has been restored recently and has been under tarpaulins for years, completely visible again since a couple of months.
The 17th century physicist - and philosopher - Blaise Pascal is supposed to have used the tower for some studies on barometrical variations here, the reason why his statue can now be found under the lower arches of the tower. It was later also used for other physical experiments, measuring speed of falling objects etc.
Queen Victoria passed under the lower arches during a visit and one of the adjacent streets bears her name.