Grosse Horloge

La Rochelle, France

The Grosse Horloge of La Rochelle is a former city gate dating back to the original fortifications known as Guillaume X. It received a bell and clock in 1478, becoming the city's belfry, replacing the Mallevault gate. 

Originally a gate in La Rochelle's fortified city, part of the early medieval fortifications, the Grosse-Horloge was built in the early 12th century during the construction of the first medieval enclosure. The gate featured two openings: a wider one for carts and a smaller one for pedestrians.

In 1478, an octagonal bell tower was added, topped with a campanile housing the clock bell. This upper part closely resembled the Cailhau gate (except for the central window). In 1672, the two openings were merged into a single arch to facilitate traffic.

In 1746, the upper part of the structure was demolished to make way for the current Louis XV-style cartouche flanked by scientific and military attributes.

Today, it remains one of the main passage points between the quays and the old town. For a few years, it also housed an archaeological museum related to the Templars of La Rochelle.


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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

washfix1 (7 months ago)
Beautiful building, how they built these all those years ago amazing
Phillip Spencer (2 years ago)
Beautiful old clock tower and building. Well worth seeing.
sergio (3 years ago)
Ancient tower and tour in the ancient city. Very beautiful walk around. Near there are a lot of shops, particularly a good bakery.
Antoine M (5 years ago)
The original gateway with the door being listed as national monument in 1978. Standing from the south side looking at this gate is amazing with the statue of Duppré in front. The north side façade is far more elaborately decorated being the side towards the town it used to enclose. It's still one of the most spectacular passages between the quay side and the old city. There's a museum of sorts in the upper part of this tower that houses scientific and military paraphernalia. Absolutely worth visiting as it has the most stunning views of the old port and the quayside.
Vesta Borovskaya (6 years ago)
Beautiful and atmospheric point. Good for photoshoot any time. Meny cosy places around
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