John the Fearless – Jean Sans Peur
Right in the heart of Paris there is a small medieval tower named after its owner Jean Sans Peur (1371-1419).
He was nicknamed so because he didn’t hesitate to kill his arch enemy Louis d’Orleans in order to become Regent of the Kingdom of France.
The tower was left unattended for years on end and even disappeared amidst the rest of the buildings until Haussmann — while rebuilding the City — uncovered the tower. It was then decided to turn it into a listed building.
In 1999 the Tower was open for visits and since then it has been managed by a not for profit organisation which is doing a terrific job. The guide is fantastic she knows her history really well and is passionate about her job. Exhibitions and events on medieval topics are organised there on a regular basis.
The staircase looks new and yet, it’s one of the oldest in the country. It’s made of some special kind of limestone found in the quarries below what is now Denfert Rochereau.
At the top of the stairs one is welcomed by a a brilliant tree-like canopy made of sculpted stones. This is the actual roof of the tower, not just an ornament. It’s absolutely brilliant.
Many medieval costumes have been installed. The organisation also sells small leaflets on various medieval topics (fairs in the middle ages, hygiene in the middle ages etc.) which I recommend warmly. All along we were walking pas this tower and had never noticed how interesting it was. I definitely recommend you not to be fearful and visit Tour Jean Sans Peur.
It couldn’t be more central. Yet, at the beginning of the 15th century it was the end of town as the tower was built directly on the Wall of Philip II Augustus. Click the map for directions.