Paris has over 100 sundials - cadrans solaires in French. This
list is a selection of dials around the centre of the city, the
5th arrondisement, which are fairly easily accessible to the public.
The book Cadrans Solaires De Paris by Andrée Gotteland and
Georges Camus was reprinted in 1997 and describes 109 sundials in Paris.
The booklet Sundials in Paris by Jane Walker and Walter Wells is a
translation of notes from Cadrans Solaires De Paris assembled for a
weekend vist to Paris by the British Sundial society, and describes 47 dials
and meridians. Sundials in Paris may be obtained from Jane Walker
price £2.50 plus postage using the
BSS order form
- 27 rue St Jacques
- Designed by Salvador Dali and cast in cement, this dial hangs over
the street like a shop sign. A face in the shape of a Coquille St. Jacques
(scallop) is used as the dial face, a reminder of the pilgrims to the shrine
of St. Jacques de Compostella who passed along this street in ancient times.
The eyebrows are flames representing the sun
- 125 rue St. Jacques - Lycee Louis le Grand
The dials of the Jesuit Fathers, who taught maths and physics here, date
from the construction of the tower in 1679. There are 6 dials on the tower:
two are high up on the east and west faces. The other six are on the south
face: four double dials with a window at the centre of each pair. Morning
hours are to the left, afternoon to the right. Each half dial has its own
gnomon. The first dial shows classical hours, the second Babylonian and
Italian hours, the third gives mean time and sundial time, and the fourth
has sideral hours. The dials were restored in 1842 and again in 1988.
There is an explanatory plaque at the foot of the tower
- 23 rue Clovis - Lycée Henri IV
- Originally part of the abbey of Ste. Genevieve. The building which was
originally the novices' room and the library has 2 dials back to back.
The south facing one can be seen from the Cour de Méridian and the
north facing dial from the Cour Descartes. They are probably the work
of Père Pingré (1711-1796), the librarian of the abbey.
The third dial is an armillary sphere in the Cour de Méridian;
it was installed about 1850, and was intended only to give the passage of the
meridian. The shadow gives local noon.
- 17 rue de la Sorbonne - The Sorbonne
- Alphonse Allaiswriting in 1902 - "Candidates for the Baccalaureat in
the old Sorbonne remember the hours passed in the old court, waiting for the
pass list to be published. Anxious and distraught - watching the sundial......"
Records show there was a sundial here in 1554. There were once three
sundials, but in 1859 the Sorbone was reconstructed, and only the south
facing dial was replaced. As the new wall had a different declination, the
dial was re-calculated, and the analemma was added at that time.
- 23 rue du Sommerard - Hotel de Cluny (museum)
- There are two dials in the courtyard of the museum
The dial on the south facing wall to the left of the museum entry is inaccurate.
The latitude has been replaced by the co-latitude, and no account taken of the
declination, therefore the gnomon was not replaced at the restoration.
- The second dial is on the north-east face of the tower. From 1748 to 1817, the
tower was used as an opbservatory by the astronomers Joseph-Nicholas de
Lisleand Charles Messier. The letters A B E and the date 1674 refer to the
time when the Hotel was used by the papal nuncios. The recent restoration
follows the existing hour lines, some of which were not correct.