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Astronomical Clock of Besancon Cathedral

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: Rue du Chapitre, 25000, Besancon, France
Phone Number:
+33 3 81 81 12 76

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

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    Very good
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You can really look at it up close

This clock reminded me of the astronomical clock in Strasbourg, except that you can get much closer to the inner workings of this one. Terrific details.

Reviewed 10 January 2017
American In Europe
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170 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 36: English reviews
American In Europe
Level Contributor
59 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2017

This clock reminded me of the astronomical clock in Strasbourg, except that you can get much closer to the inner workings of this one. Terrific details.

Thank AmeriEuroMan
Sans Souci, Australia
Level Contributor
52 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2016

This clock is almost hidden on the side of the Cathedral of St John. We were there when it's operation was explained in French ( we do not understand French) however an English document was given to us to read. There is a small fee. The clock has so many parts to it for time, hour,day,month, year etc

1 Thank davidu2219
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Level Contributor
90 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2016

Every 10 minutes before the hour you can enter and will be introduced to this incredible specimen of historical craftsmenship. Dozens of time-related elements are worked with great dedication into the clock, that has dozens of round displays. Nice to see.

1 Thank Paul D
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
56 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2016

This is a beautiful clock with superb details. Unlike in many locations, you can get very close to it to examine. Well worth the visit - check out the rest of the beautiful cathedral at the same time.

1 Thank Katri80
Level Contributor
63 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2016

Extraordinary piece of engineering. Would have liked to her something about it but the guide who was in full flow in french ignored us completely.

Thank alivealiveo
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
149 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 June 2016

We walked all the way up to the cathedral and the to the entry of the actual clock entry door only to read a notice in French , which we worked out , it was telling us it was closed on Tuesday, and today was Tuesday.

Thank Alan F
Besancon, France
Level Contributor
68 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 May 2016

I have never seen anything like this! How interesting can a clock be? Well, this one blows every other clock out of the water! It tracks over 200 different 'times', including tides, moon phases, holy days, etc. Built over 200 years ago, and it is supposed to be accurate for over 10,000 years! It has so many bells and whistles,... More 

Thank finlandadventures
Canton of Vaud, Switzerland
Level Contributor
104 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2016

This clock is perfectly functional and it is still used for actuating the bells. It's a mechanic watch with 7 weights. These weights must be lifted twice per day. It could technically hold for one day but it's safer and less tiring to do it more often. The level of complexity is outstanding and given the times when it was... More 

Thank sannder
Wymondham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
72 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 204 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 March 2016

There was only 1 French person and 2 of us English visitors but the guide spoke entirely in French and she ignored us. I do not know if she spoke any English. It would have been nice to have been given a little more information about the clock but we took a good look at it even around the back... More 

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2016

I went to see the clock in October and was lucky to get the 'guided tour' for free as I have a student card...our guide was animated and friendly and knew the mechanics inside out. He also translated some words into English for us. We were in the room for 20 minutes or so, and it was a very engaging... More 

Thank Grainne P

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