The Tour de l’Horloge is part of the ramparts that have protected the town of Castellane since the Middle Ages. The gateway to the town, it overlooks the main road. A campanile stands at the top.
The interior of the Clock Tower is not open to the public.
The Tour de l’Horloge, also known as the Porte Saint-Michel, is traditionally dated, along with the rest of Castellane’s ramparts, to 1359 and subsequent years. It was transformed into a communal belfry in the 18th century, with the addition of a metal campanile before 1775.
The Porte Saint-Michel was once a tower open at the throat. However, the inner elevation was walled up at an undetermined time. The tower was listed as a historic monument in 1920. The Porte Saint-Michel is similar to the other preserved towers of Castellane’s fortifications: rough coursed masonry of small rubble stones; tuff ashlar quoins, embossed at the top; rows of quarter-round brackets with four projections.
The machicolation has been replaced by an original belfry. The square-shaped aedicula housing the clock is topped by a masonry cylinder, itself extended by the wrought-iron campanile bearing the bell. The campanile is made up of two metal bulbs, the larger one carrying the bell, and the smaller one above it, crowned with a weathervane and a cross.
This is the tallest tower in Castellane’s fortifications (20 m to the cylindrical part, i.e. around 25 m to the cross). On the first floor, the square tower gives access to the rue Saint-Victor, thanks to an ashlar barrel vault, closed on the east by a pointed arch whose base is emphasized by a quarter-round entablature. Between this door and the clock aedicula at the top of the tower are two storeys. The first, which is very high and empty, is used only for the cords of the weighted clock. This floor corresponds to the former throat opening. There is no staircase. The second floor provides access to the clock through an opening in the north wall, which communicates with the neighboring house. A spiral staircase leads to the upper floor, where the clock is located.