Horloge Astronomique

After more than two years of closure, first due to the restoration of the tower of Besançon Cathedral in 2019, followed by the consequences of the health crisis and finally by a diagnosis of the restoration of the clock mechanism in 2021, the Centre des Monuments Nationaux announces the reopening of the Besançon Astronomical Clock, a technical masterpiece by Auguste-Lucien Vérité, as of June 1st 2022.

The monument will offer a new mediation discourse and a new visiting schedule while waiting for the restoration phase to begin, according to the schedule of the DRAC of Bourgogne Franche-Comté. The clock and its particularly complex mechanism are not in working order and will require patient and meticulous technical work before they can be restored to full function.
Visitors will be given the keys to understanding the history of this clock, its designer, its technical realisation and the challenges of restoring the mechanism.
Thanks to the monument’s agents, the mediation panels and a showcase presenting parts of the clock mechanism currently at a standstill, visitors will be able to understand the design of this emblematic 19th century work and above all the technical challenge of restarting it that the forthcoming restoration will entail.

Guided tour in French at 11am, 2.30pm, 3.30pm and 4.30pm.
The clock will be exceptionally closed all day on 22 and 23 June.

Classified as a Historic Monument in 1991, the astronomical clock of the Saint-Jean de Besançon cathedral was designed and built by the clockmaker Auguste-Lucien Vérité from 1858 to 1860 at the request of Cardinal Matthieu.
Installed in a room in the lower parts of the bell tower, the astronomical clock is the central point of a very important mechanism. It guarantees the functioning of the exterior and interior time dials of the cathedral as well as of 2 Comtois bells.

It is equipped with a precise and complex mechanism of more than 30,000 parts and 11 movements. Driven by weights, some of them are used for animations such as bells and automatons. The 57 dials provide numerous indications: calendars, movement of the planets, eclipses, time of high tide in different ports…
When its mechanism was still in operation, the clock also operated the four external dials located on each side of the bell tower and a fifth one located inside St John’s Cathedral.
Discover Louis-Auguste Vérité’s technical masterpiece, which combines the search for mechanical perfection with a poetic decor.

Horloge Astronomique
Rue du Chapitre Tour du clocher de la Cathédrale St Jean
03 81 81 12 76

See website



Closing days

  • Monday

Opening periods and special opening conditions / Covid-19

  • From 01/06/2022 to 31/10/2022 from 10am to 12:30pm and 2pm to 6pm except Mondays
  • Monument for 19 people at a time
from 06/01/2022 to 10/31/2022


  • In the town centre



  • Visite payante
  • Parcours adapté aux enfants
  • Visite guidée sur rendez-vous
  • Visite libre

Groups tours

  • Visite payante
  • Visite guidée sur rendez-vous


  MINI MAXI Information(s) complementaire(s)
Base rate - full rate adult 4 € -
School rate 20 € - school package

Means of payment

  • Credit card
  • Cheques and postal orders
  • Cash
  • Eurocard - Mastercard
  • Visa