The tower, last bulwark against death for John the Fearless...

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The tower - © Gaël Chardon / CC-BY-SA The tower - © Gaël Chardon / CC-BY-SA
John the Fearless tower Tower John the Fearless

From 1270, Robert of Artois, king Saint Louis nephew, owned lands near the pointe Saint-Eustache, in order to raise a city house: the hôtel d'Artois ("Artois' house"). Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy, inherited it in 1384. But king Charles VI was mad!

His brother Louis of Orléans was confronted to his cousin Jean sans Peur ("John the Fearless"), the new duke of Burgundy, who wanted to kill his rival. Well! On the evening of November 3th 1407, rue Vieille-du-Temple, the duke was assassinated by John the Fearless' henchmen... so, John finally acceded to the power!

He built his tower from February 1409 to May 1411. A fine and strong tower, where he could hide. Well, by killing his cousin, John launched the war between Armagnacs and Burgundians! He needed to protect himself from reprisals...

A 15th century text said: En ces propres jours, Jean sans Peur fit faire et édifier à puissance d'ouvriers une forte chambre de pierres bien taillées en manière d'une tour, dedans laquelle il se couchait par nuit. Et estoit ladite chambre fort avantageuse pour lui garder which means: "John the Fearless raised a strong tower made of stones, in which he slept at night."

But John was murdered in 1419, and the tower was abandoned: it became a disreputable den! In the 17th century, the new owner, Germain Courtin, King's secretary, founded here a cabaret. In the end of the 18th century, a rich ironmonger moved in and opened a shop. What a destiny... And yet, in the heart of Halles district, the tower is still here...

And also!