27 August 2023

Up to the top of the Tour Saint-Jacques

It was a hot and muggy July day in 2013 and there were 300 steps to climb on a steep, narrow spiral staircase. That's the equivalent of a 16-story building. I struggled but I made it. (I was 64 years old then, and I believe I was the oldest person in the group I climbed up with.) The tower is open to visitors from spring until autumn nowadays, but only 17 people an hour can go up. It's best to make a reservation if you want to do some climbing and take in the views.

Looking north toward Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur basilica. And then looking southwest toward, bien sûr, the Eiffel Tower; the gilded dome of the church at Les Invalides where Napoleon's tomb is on display; and in the foreground the dome of the Institut where the Académie Française meets.

Here's what the steps up to the top of the Tour Saint-Jacques looked like. I had a tight grip on that rope "railing" to haul my body up to the top.

Looking west from the top of the tower you can see the Arc de Triomphe on the right; the 20th century business park called La Défense in the distance; and the rooftops of the Louvre in the foreground. Finally, closer to the Tour Saint-Jacques, you can see a lot of contruction cranes (the Forum des Halles was being updated); and the Saint-Eustache church in the middle of the image.

I took these pictures with a Panasonic Lumix ZS8 digital camera that I had bought in 2012.


  1. 64 seems so young now. You were fit then and now also. The last two are especially interesting because they show the roof tops.

  2. Great views. It is near the apartment I rented in January this year but I didn’t drag my 76 year old body up all those steps.

  3. Such a tight staircase! I may have to rethink this one!

  4. I'd be gripping that rope up and down!


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