The Gros-Horloge, Rouen
The clock arch (Gros-Horloge in French) is another of the architectural treasures in the centre of Rouen.
The clock is located on the main route from Notre Dame Cathedral through to the old market place (Vieux Marché). Nowadays it is one of the city's major shopping streets but, by looking above the stores, the visitor can still see the remains of earlier times in the architecture of the buildings.
The neighbouring belfry was the original construction - it houses the massive bells of the city which still ring in the evening as well as the original mechanism for the astrological clock.
There was an earlier belfry on this site, but the current building dates from the 14th and 15th centuries and is an example of Gothic architecture.
The famous astrological clock (pictured above) dates from a little later in the Renaissance period (thus the richer decoration) and tells the time, the phases of the moon and the day of the week using allegorical subjects. The arch, also a Renaissance structure, housed the clock-keeper's apartments.
The outside platform at the top of the tower has an excellent view of the city and over to the spires of the nearby cathedral.
Visiting the Clock
The clock arch and belfry are open for visits every day apart from Monday. The museum is closed at lunchtime during the summer and in the morning during the winter.
The clock mechanisms, the apartments of the clock-keeper, the bells and their weights and the upper viewing platform can all be visited.
The visit to the viewing platform on the belfry involves a certain amount of climbing on sometimes narrow staircases and should only be undertaken by those who have a reasonable level of fitness.
Rue du Gros-Horloge
Tel.: 02 32 08 01 90