Palais-Royal The Little Canon & Tulips in the sunshine
History,  Life in Paris & France

The Little Canon in Paris

Palais Royal Little Canon & Tulips in the sunshineAt the Palais-Royal gardens, while enjoying the spring magnolias and narcissus one cloudy, chilly Spring day in March, I noticed a little canon perched on a pedestal on the grass. The sign said that since 1990 it was once again  functioning, firing at noon every day. I believed the sign!

A week later, on a warm, sunny first of April (a Tuesday) and ten degrees warmer, the magnolia flowers had become leaves and the purple tulips now mingled with the narcissus. I pulled up a relax-backed Luxembourg chair (1923) and waited for the canon at noon. Nothing happened.

The Palais-Royal park guardian sits in a room tucked away in a corner near the Coeur d’honneur with its Buren columns. He said it never goes off and hasn’t for a long time. On line, I read that since 2011, for the benefit of Parisians and tourists, it fires on Wednesday, noon sharp! What is the truth? The investigation continues and I will return along this ancient line of the Paris meridian on a Wednesday.

A quick history of the canon
The “petit canon” first appeared in 1786 along the original Paris meridian, which passed through the gardens. A clockmaker, Mr. Rousseau, at 95 galerie de Beaujolais in the arcades, installed the canon and would set it off daily so the promeneurs could set their watches.

In 1799 it was placed in its present location. Historically, it was fired at noon on sunny days between May and October until 1914. Several renovations enabled it to work now and again until it was stolen during the night hours between April 15 and 16, 1998.

The current canon is silent most days. Word has it and must be verified that in 2011 in the interest of Parisians and tourists it once again began firing but only on Wednesday at noon.

Palais-Royal a sparrow budding tree Palais Royal Gardens Narcissus Palais Royal fountain Palais Royal garden statue Luxembourg chair in Palais Royal 02 Place Colette Comedie Francaise Place Colette Metro Palais Royal Palais Royal arcade and lamps Colonnes de Buren Cour d'Honneur Paris Palais-Royal Little Canon & Tulips


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This Web site and and its blog articles are for travelers to Paris who are looking for advice from someone who lives in Paris. These tips are "for Parisians at heart". Many people would like to visit, some can and some cannot - so I will help you enjoy a glimpse of the city and its surroundings. This project has been ongoing since 2002. Prior to living in Paris (since 1992) my European history began in the early 70s with three years in Wiesbaden, Germany. My next foray onto the Continent was in the mid-80s after graduation from the University of Florida (where I met Erik): traveling around Europe and UK with my friend, Margie, hitchhiking around and working in Ireland. After living and working as a journalist in Sweden for four years, traveling on boats, the Trans-Siberian Railway, local trains and planes took Erik and I around the world. I began working as a flight attendant in 1990 for American Airlines, based in Chicago. We moved to Paris, France in 1992 where I commuted between Paris and Chicago for my flight attendant/stewardess job. Finally my inner voice said "Stop!" and I left American Airlines six weeks shy of 20 years January 1, 2010. Now that is over and I am back working as a journalist and photographer full time on - My videos are posted on YouTube on the colleensparis youtube channel. and I am active in Toastmasters 75. Enjoy!