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Arras’ bell tower and the Town Hall

Inspired by the Gothic style, the 75 metres tall bell tower of Arras overlooks the Place des Héros. Its construction started in 1463 and ended only in 1554 under the supervision of Jacques Le Caron. Later, the bell tower was enlarged twice, in 1572 and in 1658. Almost destroyed entirely during the Great War, the bell tower was rebuilt more soberly under the plans of Pierre Paquet between 1924 and 1932.

Arras_belfry

In the past, the bell tower was the symbol of municipal freedom, and was used as an observation post in case of invasions or fires.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

A statue of a lion brandishing a sun is erected on top of the bell tower. Emblem of Louis XIV, the sun was added by the people of Arras in order to show their goodwill to the French Monarchy after the passage of the king through Arras.

Under the bell tower is the town hall, which is inspired by the Gothic and Renaissance style (XVI century). It was built between 1501 and 1508. Entirely destroyed during the bombardments of October 1914, the town hall was faithfully rebuilt for the main facade.

In the fete hall of the town hall, there is a splendid 50 metre-long painting by the painter Hoffbauer (1932) that depicts scenes from the daily life of the people of Arras in the XVI century. The honor room of the town hall is adorned with magnificent sculpted paneling. The bell tower, the town hall, and the facades in the Place des Héros have recently been entirely renovated. The town hall now houses the Tourist Office and the town council.

The bell tower of Arras was classified in July 2005 as part of ‘world inheritance of humanity’ by UNESCO along with 22 other bell towers of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the Somme.

Arras in winter

Christmas decorations.

Belfry’s clock

Bell tower’s clock

Arras_gargoyles

The bell tower’s gargoyles.

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