I’m no risk-taker but I threw myself into a challenge: climbing the Saint Vulfran Collegiate Church towers (I have a slight fear of heights)

My colleagues wouldn’t stop telling me about the view from the top but I’m scared of heights. So after a lot of umming and ahhing, I’ve decided to go up on lovely winter’s afternoon. Since I was trying to overcome my fear and be sure of clear views, it’s best not to go up in rainy weather: slip hazards etc.

Gilles is our guide on our private tour along with Caro the photographer and two young apprentices! Gilles goes ahead and opens a beautiful wooden door leading to the famous spiral staircase. There are around 290 uneven and unique-looking stone steps worn down by time.

He gives us some safety guidelines: “use your mobile phones for light, stay behind me and watch your step.” Some pigeons call this place home, that’s all I’ll say on that point.

After just a few minutes of climbing and without even feeling dizzy: SURPRISE!

We’re already perched 25 metres high beneath the large rose window!

I admit to being a little nervous (some would say very nervous) and the thought of going back down does cross my mind.
But I get a hold of myself and saw it through to the top: 56 metres high to be exact. 

Once you’re at the top, the views are incredible!

You can see out over the entire city and have fun spotting buildings you recognise. We feel so good that we suggest Gilles brings along a little snack of gâteau battu on future trips.

Today he can’t linger as he has to open the church for visitors but first he wants to give us an exclusive look at a new addition to his tour in 2019. A stop in the bell chamber where 6 cast iron “fat ladies” weighing around 5 tons in total await. Impressive.

290 steps downstairs and I’m back on terra ferma after a very happy trip. I’ve even planned on doing it all again!

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