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Astronomical Clock of Besancon Cathedral

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Address: Rue du Chapitre, 25000, Besancon, France
Phone Number: 03 81 81 12 76
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Built between 1858 and 1860 by Auguste Lucien Vérité, the astronomical...

Built between 1858 and 1860 by Auguste Lucien Vérité, the astronomical clock has a precise and complex mechanism consisting of over 30,000 parts and 11 movements. Worked by weights, some operate chimes and automata. The 57 faces provide a lot of information: calendars, the tides in 8 ports, eclipses… Visitors can look all around the clock and see its interior mechanisms. Open: > Tours at 9.50 a.m., 10.50 a.m., 11.50 a.m., 2.50 p.m., 3.50 p.m., 4.50 p.m., 5.50 p.m. Closed: > Tuesdays. > Wednesdays form 1st October to 31st March. > January. > 1st January, 1st May, 1st November, 11th November and 25th December. Admission fees: Adults : 3 €; Concessions (18 to 25) = 2,50 €; Free admission: minors under 18*; Free admission: 18-25 years old* (citizens of one of the 27 countries of the EU or are non-European permanent residents of France) * excluding school groups

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 97 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 53
  • 32
    Very good
  • 10
  • 2
  • 0

We stumbled across this while visiting the cathedral and were impressed with the complexity of the clock and enjoyed the explanations (in excellent English) of the curator.

4 of 5 starsReviewed 1 week ago
Peter S
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97 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
231 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

We stumbled across this while visiting the cathedral and were impressed with the complexity of the clock and enjoyed the explanations (in excellent English) of the curator.

Thank Peter S
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Level Contributor
107 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We arrived at the cathedral to find the clock could not be viewed but the curator was kind enough to suggest we return later in the day. We really enjoyed our tour of this interesting instrument. The guide made a real effort to make sure we understood what she was aying and we appreciated this.

Thank M-and-H10
Fremont, California
Level Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2015

For only 3€, you can view an amazing beautiful clock, registering time all over the world, tides in various cities with actual moving ships, astrological depictions, clock mechanisms, and quarter hour and hourly chimes. You can also view a small Jesus figure at the top rise and fall depicting good friday and easter. Due to the high heat in the... More 

Thank joyalfa
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2015

This is a fantastic old clock with a huge number of different faces for various readings. It's a must see. But they only do guided visits in one small room. And there are only a handful of visits a day. We went at 14 45 after coming down from the Citadel.

2 Thank Paul F
Pokolbin, Australia
Level Contributor
125 reviews
65 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015

Amazing clock... tells you everything.. planet rotation, phases of the moon, years, months, days, hours, etc... it looks like millions of working parts and you can't but wonder at how someone hundreds of years ago thought this one up!

1 Thank Judy L
London,frankfurt,barcelona,phuket,singapore,harare,johannesburg,cape town,francistown,gaberone,lusaka,calais,athens,patras,
Level Contributor
57 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2015

The cathedral houses the clock. However, the cathedral is fantastic. The clock is just out of this world and set up in a. Tiny room which makes its difficult for full length photos of its structure but take time to read the pamphlet and you will be amazed. You pay 3 Euros to see the clock. It helps towards the... More 

2 Thank Docindahouse
western colorado
Level Contributor
204 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2015

Don't miss this. It is an amazing timepiece. You must show up at ten to the hour for the tour. The clock keeps track of tides in many cities, the lunar and solar eclipses, the time in many cities, and it is beautiful.

1 Thank gentinasybil
charlottesville, United States
Level Contributor
53 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2015

There is a special presentation twice a day each day and we lucked into being there the first day of a young guide who was a Art History grad student who gave us a detauiled and fascinating explanation of the workings of this clock. It is not as big or elaborate as the one in Strasbourg, but well worth the... More 

1 Thank Elizabeth S
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2015

A fascinating example of mechanical technology with moving statues, the planets and so many dials. Be sure to arrive on time -the guide starts at 10 minutes to the hour. And don't ask how much it cost to build!

1 Thank Ian A
Lausanne, Switzerland
Level Contributor
225 reviews
113 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2014

The clock is at ground floor, in a small room that is opened by a nice guide, explaining its history and describing all its parts (it could take hours to observe all its details!) just 10 minutes before the clock springs to life. The movements of the religious character are tiny, but the clock is really worth a visit.

Thank aa27

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