21.10.09

Tour Saint-Jacques


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.


The church was (the tower still is) one of the major starting points of the pilgrim walk St. James’ Way (Camino de Santiago, Chemin de St. Jacques, Jakobsweg....) to Santiago-de-Compostella, where the apostle St. James is supposed to have been buried.

32 comments:

Eli said...

wonderful photos as always. Hopefully next time I am passing it will be open

Virginia said...

Peter,
I've not posted my photos from this place. Now I think I won't! Your BW or maybe night photos are just amazing. Well done mon ami!
V

Harriet said...

The lighting on that top photo is exquisite. What a beautiful piece of architecture!

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Wow! Magnificent night shots! Loved them!

Anil P said...

Most interesting history. The tower is imposing. It seems common to see towers standing while all else collapsed centuries ago. I see one in Goa as well.

alice said...

Cette tour m'a toujours paru un peu bizarre, toute seule à cet endroit... Je supposais qu'elle faisait partie d'un ensemble, maintenant j'en sais davantage! Et tes photos lui font honneur. Bonne piscine!

Olivier said...

tres belle photo de la tour st jacques de nuit, elle est tres belle cette tour

claude said...

Tu penses ! Je la connais cette tour St-Jacques, mais je ne rappelle pas l'avoir vue aussi joliment photographiée. Tes photos sont super belles, Peter ! C'est un régal pour les yeux.

Adam said...

Your photos look like negatives - a very interesting effect! You've answered a lot of my questions here, but I'm still not sure why the tower was saved. Any ideas?

hpy said...

J'en apprends sur St Jacques de Compostelle ici! Merci à toi d'avoir fouillé pour nous. (Au moins pour les ignorants comme moi.)

Thérèse said...

Ah sympa de recevoir ces explications des années après l'avoir vue en passant...
Bravo au photographe!

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Stunning night shot of Tour St-Jacques...!

from cali said...

It is even more impressive at night. In the first photo it is hard to imagine that the bustling city of Paris surrounds it. It looks eerie and beautiful all at once. Wonderful photos!

Catherine said...

Tu as su la mettre en valeur ! Elle est sublime avec cette lumière. Merci d'avoir veillé pour nous l'offrir ainsi présentée.

Catherine said...

Peter, je viens de lire chez HPY en faisant ma tournée que tu avais visité IKEA ?
C'est pour un post....ces jours prochains ?

Oh !non ! je n'ai pas résisté.... je fais la malicieuse, quelques fois. Excuse moi. Sourire

Starman said...

The last time I saw la Tour Saint-Jacques, it was covered in that plastic they use when they're cleaning buildings in Paris.

ParisBreakfasts said...

Your mention of Queen Victoria reminded me of my brief stay at Brown's Hotel in London - there were two chairs on the landing which Queen V. may have sat upon...ahem
totally irrelevant really :)

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Amazing another place for me to visit..i might be back soon :-)

Cergie said...

Quel est cet arbre au premier plan au dessus ? Il est vrai que la tour St J est comme la tour E dans un (petit) parc
Alain te dira tout sur la tour, comme il me l'a expliqué, que le bâtiment dont elle était partie a été vendu et démantelé et comment la tour a été préservée.
Pour Compostelle on part de partout, on passe partout (Constance, Pyrénées, Bordeaux ; cet été même, j'ai vu un pélerin avec sa coquille sur le sac à dos dans le Limousin ; si j'ai omis de faire la photo, ce n'est pas grave, tu me crois sur parole...)

Cezar and Léia said...

Wonderful pictures, specially the first shot!
Léia :)

delphinium said...

tiens, je ne suis pas sûre d'avoir remarqué cette tour quand j'ai passé dans le quartier... je ne me rappelle plus du tout. En tous les cas, belles photos peter.
Ciao

ALAIN said...

A Toulouse, il y a l'église de Saint Pierre des cuisines...sans doute une succursale...

krystyna said...

Interesting informs
and great photos!
Night and your black template are confederates.
Really love it.

JM said...

The first pic is fantastic, Peter!

Peter said...

Eli:
What is closed nighttime is the surrounding little park. If not the tower is neither open or closed, you just can admire it. :-)

Virginia:
Look maybe like b&w, but these ones are coloured. You could post your b&w and then we can compare! :-)

Harriet:
Yes, the tower is magnificient and it has been magnificiently restored! :-)

Peter said...

Rakesh:
Thanks!! :-)

Anil P:
This one may have been saved during the revolutionary years with the excuse that it had been / was used for scientific experiments. :-)

Alice:
Tu connais tout sur Paris! J'étais sur que tu savais déjà! :-)

Peter said...

Olivier:
Elle est très belle, en effet! :-)

Claude:
Bien sur que tu connais, on ne peut pas passer devant sans la remarquer! :-)

Adam:
I know only that it was agreed that the contractor who demolished the church must leave the tower. As I said above, one reason may have been its scientific background. :-)

hpy:
Tu n'as pas encore fait ton pélirenage? :-)

Peter said...

Thérèse:
On apprend tous les jours, heureusement! :-)

Feasting on pixels:
Happy that you appreciate! :-)

Peter said...

From Cali:
Certain things are even looking nicer during the night! :-)

Catherine:
Merci! Non, je ne fais pas de post sur IKEA - je suis allé sans mon apparail de photo! :-)

Starman:
It became completely visible again only last spring! :-)

Peter said...

ParisBreakfasts:
Reminds me of all the places Napoleon is supposed to have visited, sleeping, dining... :-)

Anne:
Hope to see you soon then! :-)

Cergie:
En effet, un des parcours les plus fequenté part de Vezelay et passe par le Limousin. ... donc je te crois! :-)

Peter said...

Léia:
Happy you appreciate! :-)

Delphinium:
La prochaine fois à Paris tu lèves le yeux! :-)

Alain:
:-))

Peter said...

Krystyna:
Thanks, dear friend! :-)

JM:
Good that I chose it as my "top picture" then! :-)