(Paris) All of Paris at its feet: the Tour Saint-Jacques, a 54-meter-high monument offering a breathtaking view of a capital of which it occupies the full center, reopens to the public on Thursday.

The Seine which borders the Conciergerie, the Hôtel de Ville and Notre-Dame to the south, the Eiffel Tower and La Défense in the distance to the west, the Halles, Saint-Eustache and Pompidou to the north… impossible to do more central and open than the view from the top of this jewel of the 16th century, the only vestige of a church destroyed during the Revolution.

“It takes a lot of courage to get up there because it’s 300 steps to climb. But when you’re here, it’s a breathtaking 360-degree view of Paris, ”summarized the heritage assistant at the town hall of Paris, Karen Taïeb, during a visit on Wednesday.

Despite its central location, its early classification as historical monuments (1862) and its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1998), the old bell tower of the Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie church, in the style Flamboyant Gothic, remains “unknown to Parisians”, underlines the town hall, which has opened it to the public for part of the year since the end of its restoration work in 2013.

Hence the City’s decision to start visits a little earlier this year, from Thursday until November 12, when the Tower was only accessible in summer previously.

Access is only possible in a trickle, from Friday to Sunday and in small groups of 17 people accompanied by guides. The narrow and long spiral staircase only allows access to those in “good physical condition”, underlines the town hall which insists on “the difficulty of the ascent”.

People “suffering from claustrophobia and vertigo” or “having difficulty walking or heart problems, with visual, hearing or motor disabilities” will therefore have to stay at the foot of the tower, in the square of the same name, as well as children under 10 years old, specifies the booking platform.