09 November 2021

Rouen en Normandie : Le Gros-Horloge

If your French is pretty good, you might notice that the word horloge in my title is masculine here but is feminine otherwise. Sometimes words change gender over the centuries, but proper names don't change as fast as other words.
For this specific clock, the word horloge has kept its masculine gender.


Le Gros-Horlage is installed in an arch over a pedestrian streeet that links the place du Vieux-Marché to the cathédrale.
Of the clock, the Michelin Guide to Normandy says: “In addition to the single hand which gives the hours,
there is the central section telling the phases of the moon and the lower inset indicating the weeks.”

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Le Gros-Horloge is is one of the oldest clocks in France, dating back to the year 1389.


The horloge seems to have been refurbished sometime between the days when I took pictures #1 (2003) and #6 (2006).


  1. It is absolutely beautiful!
    One hand, like a sundial.

    1. The Wikipedia page, either in French or in English, about le Gros-Horloge is worth a read. Another famoushorloge astronomique is in the Strasbourg Cathedral. Even though it dates back to the same period as Rouen’s, it has been restored several times, whereas, it seems, the Gros-Horloge mecanism is the original one. WOW!

  2. It is beautiful, I wonder what the orb at the top is supposed to be? Interesting how many cities have been re-gilding monuments and buildings. And perhaps individual clocks can be masculine but the collective group is feminine? A lot of the time m. vs f. is a guess for me in Francais.

  3. I didn't realize it has only the one hand. As chm says, like a sundial. Lovely.


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