The pride of the people of Rouen, the astronomic clock lays on a Renaissance arch spanning the busy street of rue du Gros-Horloge. This popular tourist landmark in the old town of Rouen is flanked by a Gothic belfry from the 14th century.
Gros-Horloge, the pride of Rouen
Running between the Gothic cathedral made famous by Claude Monet and the old market square where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake is a pedestrianised street called “Rue du Gros-Horloge”. This quaint street with many timber-framed buildings is named after Le Gros Horloge, a Renaissance clock set in an arch over the street. The clock’s movement was made in 1389, and installed in the adjacent belfry that was constructed at the same time. The bells in the belfry were the first set of municipal bells in Rouen. At this time there was no dial to the clock. With the construction of the arch between 1527 and 1529, the clock was moved to the arch and attached to two identical dials – one on each side of the arch. Each dial is about two and a half meters in diameter.
The dials are rich in astronomical symbolism. A single hand points out the hour of the day, moving over 24 golden sun-rays and encircled by a blue starry night. The phases of the moon are indicated on a small sphere directly above the dial. On the opposite side, below the hour of VI, a panel reveals the day of the week, symbolised by the god of the day: Monday is represented by the Moon, Tuesday by Mars, Wednesday by Mercury for Wednesday, Thursday by Jupiter, Venus by Friday, Saturday by Saturn and Apollo indicates Sunday.
Le Gros Horloge: Renaissance Time in Rouen
Though it’s been run by an electric mechanism since the early 20th century, the old clockwork mechanism from the 1300s is still there, in situ, and is theoretically still in good working order if it were to be hitched back up. It was one of the earliest clocks to sound bells at the quarter of the hour, not just on the hour. The two clock faces also have black and silver globes above them that display the phase of the moon.
The Great Clock of Rouen (has photos of inside of clock tower)
Sainte-Dévote Chapel is a Roman Catholic chapel dedicated to Saint Devota, the patron saint of Monaco. The chapel was first mentioned in archived documents dated 1070, built against the wall of Vallon des Gaumates, on the space now occupied by the Chapel of Relics. It was restored in the 16th century. In 1606, Prince Honoré II added a span, followed by a porch in 1637. The façade was rebuilt in 1870 and refurbished further in 1891 in “18th-century Neo-Greek” style. The stained-glass windows were made by Nicolas Lorin of Chartres. The glass windows were destroyed during the bombing of Monaco during World War II and were restored by Fassi Cadet of Nice in 1948. The chapel became the parish church in 1887.
The current Sainte-Dévote Church is located in the Valley of the Gaumates, in approximately the same place (according to legend) as where the boat with the martyred body of the Saint was beached and where her cadavre was buried. The first chapel which was consecrated to Devota was located on the same site as the ancient temple dedicated to Hercules and was probably built directly over this temple, in order to promote the spread of Christianity.
Government of Monaco website
In the very early 4th century, in Corsica (which was a Roman province at that time) the Roman governor, Diocletian, ordered the great persecution of the Christians. A young Christian, Devote, was arrested, imprisoned and tortured. She died without denying her faith. After her death, the governor of the province ordered for her body to be burnt, but the Christians saved her body and placed it on a boat bound for Africa, where they believed she would receive a proper Christian burial. Right from the first hours of the crossing, a storm overtook the boat. Then, a dove flew out from Devote?s mouth and without incident guided the boat to Monaco where it ran aground in the Gaumates (site of the present-day Saint Devote church).