The door of the big clock, recognizable by its large size, is a Gothic tower that once separated the port from the city.
Initially, it was intended to ensure the defense of the city in case of an attack from the port, by constituting a last rampart to the invasion.
Then it lost its usefulness, notably because of the defensive force deployed on the port. Indeed, the three towers of La Rochelle were considered to be quite capable of defending the city from invaders on their own.
A clock for the people of La Rochelle
A new use was quickly found for the tower. At the beginning of the 15th century, the inhabitants of La Rochelle wanted the municipality to allow them to know the time of day at all times. The municipality decided to place a clock on what would become the tower of the big clock.
It is the central belfry that houses the clock and its bell.
Then, the two primitive passages, one for the pedestrians, the other for the carriages, were joined in only one, which will give, with the replacement of the roofs with pepperboxes by a dome decorated with pilasters, its current aspect to the tower.
Coming from the harbor, passing through the door of the big clock, you arrive on the Place des Petits-Francs, on which you can discover a statue of Eugène Fromentin (1820-1876), a painter and a writer from La Rochelle influenced by Prosper Marilhat.
To see also...
7-1 Rue de la Grosse Horloge,
17000 La Rochelle
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator