A must-see

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The Saint-Nicolas Tower: urban dungeon or French Tower of Pisa?

Entrée de la tour Saint-Nicolas

No, you're not dreaming, the Tour Saint-Nicolas does lean. Built in the early 14th century on piles and unstable ground, it tilted during construction and was completed around 1376.

A medieval fortress

Despite its incline, the Tour Saint-Nicolas retains the allure of a medieval fortress , with spaces designed like an immense apartment: private areas, chapel, reception room... Nothing was missing!

The little extra: in the captain's room, a round opening in the floor allows you to observe, unseen, the floor below. This is the oculus that served as the freight elevator!

Don't panic if you get lost in this tower, it's normal: its particularity is to have a double circulation system (long before Chambord!) to avoid crossing between the captain's family and the garrison, with defensive and residential spaces.

Spiral staircases, straight staircases, staircases with landings and a double-revolution staircase... In short, all the staircases of the Middle Ages are to be foundin the Tour Saint-Nicolas!

When the sea is low, strange cubes appear at the foot of the tower: a scientific laboratory. Set up in the 20th century, in 1904, to assess the degradation of materials in seawater, this platform is still used for research into the durability of reinforced concrete and its use in coastal construction.

And to top it all off, the walkways offer incomparable views of the Old Port.

Oculus de la tour Saint-Nicolas
Oculus de la tour Saint-Nicolas

© Centre des monuments nationaux - Sébastien Arnault

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