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La Tour du Guet

Not rated ,  Historic site and monument ,  Fortified structure in Calais

  • Built probably in the 13th century, this tower is the oldest monument in Calais. The origin of this tower has never been irrefutably clarified. The most likely hypothesis is that it would have been part of the defensive system (including the ramparts of the time) built by Count Philippe de Hurepel.

    It was from this tower that, in 1347, Jean de Vienne, Governor of the city, informed the Calaisians of the conditions set by Edward III of England for the surrender of the city after a siege of...
    Built probably in the 13th century, this tower is the oldest monument in Calais. The origin of this tower has never been irrefutably clarified. The most likely hypothesis is that it would have been part of the defensive system (including the ramparts of the time) built by Count Philippe de Hurepel.

    It was from this tower that, in 1347, Jean de Vienne, Governor of the city, informed the Calaisians of the conditions set by Edward III of England for the surrender of the city after a siege of almost 11 months. The population was gathered on the place d'armes at the foot of the tower, and it was from its ranks that the Bourgeois of Calais came out.

    In 1580, an earthquake shook the town and caused half the tower to collapse. In 1696, the English fleet hit it, causing a new division with a notable modification, the appearance of the iron ramp. Intended to serve as a lookout, the tower was fitted with an oil-powered revolving lantern in 1818, and served as a telegraph relay and lighthouse until 1848. The 38-metre-high summit was fitted with a glass cage that still existed before the bombings of the Second World War. While more than 70% of Calais was destroyed at the end of the Second World War, the tower was spared during world conflicts. At the top, the historic blue and white flag of Calais flies.
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