A high stone edifice in a small park in the very centre of the city looks like there ought to be some more of it; it ought to be part of something—yet it stands there all alone: 54 metres high (171 ft). It is the Tower of Saint Jacques and it’s some five centuries old.
Once it was part of the Church of Saint James of the Butchery – Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie – named for the butchers of the wholesale market of Les Halles, which was close by.
The church, tower included, was constructed from 1509 to 1523, when the King of France was Francis 1 (1494-1547). In 1793, with the French Revolution raging, the State bought the building and tower from the Catholic Church, planning to demolish it. That happened, except for the tower. The Church had stipulated that it would only sell the building if the tower was to remain standing.