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Grosse Cloche

The Grosse Cloche is one of the oldest belfries in France, in the heart of the city

The Latin inscription on the inside of the Grosse Cloche (literally "Big Bell") reads "I ring the hours and my voice is a call to arms, (…) I sing for happy events and weep for the dead". The bell was cast in 1775 and weighs no less than 7,750 kilos! Christened "Armande-Louise", it rings 6 times a year for major celebrations such as Bastille Day, VE Day, and Remembrance Day and also the first Sunday of each month at noon.

The gateway where the bell is hung also had a defensive function and served as a prison. Young people who misbehaved were confined there, shut in by a door 10 cm thick with enormous bolts. It was joked at the time that they stayed in the "Hotel du Lion d’Or" – an allusion to the weather vane on the central dome with a representation of a lion, symbolising the kings of England.

This gateway is open for visits. A guide will show you the strange dungeons still haunted by the memory of people who did not respect curfew or public order.

Grosse Cloche
© Picsol
© Grosse Cloche - Crédit Picsol
Grosse Cloche
© Steve Le Clech Photos
Grosse Cloche de nuit
© Steve Le Clech Photos

Pratical information


  • every day from June to September (1 pm to 7 pm)
  • on Saturday from March to May
  • in October and November only on reservation at the Tourist Office (the guided tour is only in french)

No visit for groups.


  • Entrance : 6€ single rate

How to get there

See on the map

45 Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux