If I were to conduct a tour of Paris and take visitors to see a stopped clock that’s covered in pigeon poo I might get some pretty poor reviews on Trip Advisor. However, today that’s exactly what I am showing you; A poo-covered broken clock!
Called Le Défenseur du Temps, which means The Defender of Time, this is actually a very elaborate mechanical clock by French artist Jacques Monestier. It depicts a man with a sword and shield, along with a bird, a dragon, and a crab poised to attack him and time, represented by the round clock above his head. Sadly though, the piece hasn’t worked for over a decade now and there seems to be little interest in repairing it.
The animals represent the sky, earth, and sea, and every hour from nine o’clock in the morning until ten o’clock at night the metal man used to swing his sword and shield and do battle with one of the three animals that would mechanically begin to attack him.
While the man defended time three strikes would ring out accompanied by sounds of breaking waves, rumbling earth or the sound of the wind, depending on the animal attacking him. Which animal attacked was picked at random, but at noon, six PM, and ten PM, all three animals would attack at the same time.
The clock was installed in 1979 and at four meters high (13ft), weighing about a ton, Le Défenseur du temps is no small timepiece. In 1995 restoration was carried out but just a few years later in 2003, the clock stopped working. Without funding to maintain it, the metal man is no longer being besieged by anything other than well-fed pigeons.
2023 UPDATE: The clock was removed in February 2022 to be cleaned and restored. It was reinstalled a year later so the metal man is once again defending time from the sky, earth, and sea.
See Le Défenseur du Temps yourself using using Google Street view.