Horloge Astronomique
Religious heritage

Horloge Astronomique


Classified as a Historic Monument in 1991, the astronomical clock of the Saint-Jean de Besançon cathedral was designed and built by the clockmaker Auguste Lucien Vérité between 1858 and 1860 at the request of Cardinal Matthieu.
Installed in a room in the lower parts of the bell tower, the astronomical clock is the central point of a very important mechanism. It ensures the functioning of the exterior and interior time dials of the cathedral as well as of 2 Comtois bells.
It is equipped with a precise and complex mechanism of more than 30,000 parts and 11 movements. Driven by weights, some of them are used for animations such as bells and automatons. The 57 dials provide numerous indications: calendars, movement of the planets, eclipses, time of high tide in different ports...
When its mechanism was still in operation, the clock also operated the four external dials located on each side of the bell tower and a fifth one located inside St John's Cathedral.
Discover Louis Auguste Vérité's technical masterpiece, which combines the search for mechanical perfection with a poetic decor.

The monument will offer a new mediation discourse and a new visiting schedule while waiting for the restoration phase to begin, according to the schedule of the DRAC of Burgundy Franche-Comté. The clock and its particularly complex mechanism are not in working order and will require patient and meticulous technical work before they can be restored to full function.
Visitors will be given the keys to understanding the history of this clock, its designer, its technical realisation and the challenges of restoring the mechanism.
Thanks to the monument's agents, the mediation panels and a showcase presenting parts of the clock mechanism currently at a standstill, visitors will be able to understand the design of this emblematic 19th century work and above all the technical challenge of restarting it that the forthcoming restoration will entail.

Horloge Astronomique
Rue du Chapitre
Tour du clocher de la Cathédrale St Jean
  • French, English
  • Credit card, Cheques and postal orders, Holiday vouchers, Cash, Eurocard - Mastercard, Visa
  • Pets not allowed
Prices & Schedules Opening :

From 02/04/24 to 03/11/24 of 10:00 to 12:30 - of 14:00 to 18:00.
Closed on : Monday

From 21/12/24 to 05/01/25 of 10:00 to 12:30 - of 14:00 to 17:00.
Closed on : Monday

Open during the February holidays: 10/02/2024 to 10/03/2024 from 10am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 6pm.
Open from 1/04/2023 to 03/11/2024 from 10am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 6pm.
Open during the Christmas holidays from 21/12/2024 to 03/01/2025 from 10am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 6pm.
Closed on Mondays
It will also close early (5pm) on 24 and 31 December.

From 1 April to 31 October: 10am - 12.30pm and 2pm - 6pm / Closed on Mondays
All Saints' Day, Christmas, Winter and Easter holidays: 10am - 12.30pm and 2pm - 6pm / Closed on Mondays

Please note: last access to the monument 30 minutes before closing time.
Closed on 1 January, 1 May, 1 November and 25 December.

Prices :
  • Base rate - full rate adult : 4€
  • Child rate (under 18s)
  • Gratuities (Young people aged 18-25 who are members of the EU, teachers with an Education Pass, jobseekers and recipients of minimum social benefits.)
  • School rate (school package) : 20€
  • Gratuities (Person with a disability and their carer)
  • Group rate (reduced rate) : 4.5€
  • Special rate (SNCF Grand Voyageur season ticket) : 4€
  • Other rate (SNCF Inoui) : 4.5€
Special opening conditions :

Monument for 19 people at a time

Brochures edited by Montagnes du Jura

Consult our brochure online

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