The oldest remaining part of the Palais de la Cité is the Conciergerie on the Isle de la Cité, right in the heart of Paris, and it’s here where you’ll see old father time, pretty much literally as this is where the oldest public clock in Paris is located…
This is where the first Royal palace was built in the capital in the 14th Century, a remarkable step back in time known as The Conciergerie. Almost the entire lower floor of the palace was converted into a prison in the fifteenth century. It was here that Marie-Antoinette was held before her execution, the cell can be visited to this day.
This area is also where you will find the oldest public clock in Paris.
The wharf known today as Quai d’Horloge was begun in 1580 and completed in 1611. Back then it was known by other names including Quai des Spectacles due to the fact that opticians had shops there!
The clock that gives the quai its name today is on the corner of the Boulevard du Paris. It is built into a tower that historians say dates back to the mid 1300s. The clock was built by Henri le Vic, a German engineer who arrived in Paris in 1370 and installed in the tower by royal decree replacing bell that used to be rung for important times of the day. The clock kept time for the citizens of Paris to know when bars should be closed and when shops should be opened.
It is an incredible piece of engineering and even more incredible that several hundred years later it looks as good as new! What’s more, it works after a bit of recent restoration (2012).
More great places to visit in Paris:
Shakespeare and Co. Paris bookstore and a legend!
Ten Incredible facts you didn’t know about Paris, France
The best chocolate shops in Paris
Six of the best historic Paris restaurants
Where to buy the best baguettes in Paris