The Saint Christophe bell-tower is a historic monument (16th Century) and is the ideal place for a panoramic view of the town. It has one of the largest carillons in France, with 62 bells.
N.B. You need courage to climb the 200 steps to the top… but your efforts will be rewarded: the view from up there is superb !
Opened in 1962, it was transformed and enlarged in 1991. It is one of Tourcoing’s heritage attractions and one of the places most visited every year during the special days devoted to celebrating France’s heritage.
Access is via a spiral stone staircase, sheltered by a small octagonal turret – dated around 1530 – 1550.
The first level contains the old mechanisms: a 16th century clock and chiming drum (18th century). Tourcoing has had three successive carillons: the 17th and 18th century set (25 bells in 1701) disappeared during the Revolution. There is mention of it in the excavations of a casting shaft and some elements cut out of the 1686 bourdon.
The carillon that was restored between 1819 and 1823 chimed until 1870 and disappeared in 1917. Three of its bells were founded in Amiens in 1823. The 3rd carillon was installed in 1961.
The second level, “the Emile Gilliöen room”, is dedicated to bell manufacture: their christening and uses, which were not all religious (domestic bells, bell from the northern railway, sugar cloches, gardener’s cloches …), and a presentation of bells and small bells from other continents.
The third level contains a collection of church crosses and weathervanes and a set of clappers, rattles and wooden bells.
You then cross the bell room, with the carillon itself: 61 bells (plus one that rings the Angelus), 5 octaves, there are only around a dozen such carillons in France.
Having climbed the 200 steps, you reach the dial room where, from a height of 40 metres, you have a panoramic view of Tourcoing and the surrounding region.