Horloge Astronomique

The Centre des Monuments Nationaux announces the reopening of the Besançon astronomical clock, a technical masterpiece by Auguste-Lucien Vérité.

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.

Open from 10am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 6pm.
Open from April to 31 October. Open during the All Saints’, Christmas, February and Easter holidays. Closed on Mondays and from November to April.
The clock will also be closed on 25 December and 1 January.

Guided tour in French at 10:30, 11:30, 14:30, 15:30 and 16:30.

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 between 1858 and 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 ensures 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, where the search for mechanical perfection is combined with a poetic decoration.

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

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Opening periods and special opening conditions / Covid-19

Open during the February holidays: 4/02/2023 to 5/03/2023 from 10am to 12:30pm and from 2pm to 6pm. Open from 1/04/2023 to 05/11/2023 from 10am to 12:30pm and from 2pm to 6pm Open during the Christmas holidays from 16/12/2023 to 31/12/2023 from 10am to 12:30pm and from 2pm to 6pm Monument for 19 people at a time
from 02/04/2023 to 12/31/2023


In the town centre


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