THE QUIRKY STORY OF LE PETIT CANON
If you are wandering around the Palais Royal Gardens maybe you will notice this small and curious cannon. This cannon was built in 1786 by M. Rousseau, watchmaker from 95 Galerie Beaujolais. Le Petit Cannon was located exactly on the meridian line of Paris and through it M. Rousseau indicated Parisians walking around Palais Royal the hour at midday sharp. Thanks to this quirky cannon Parisians could set their personal clocks very easily.
Our Petit Canon looks like this! A small magnifying glass was supposed to light a wick with a little bit of gun powder on sunny days, from May to October. If you get closer, you will see the inscription “ Horas non numero nisi serenas” (I only count the happy hours).
In 1799 it was placed on its present location from where it went on working until 1914. Today we can see a replica as the original cannon was stolen about 8-10 years ago during the night ! The current Petit Canon is silent most days. However, to keep Parisians (and tourists) happy, in 2011 it again began firing on Wednesday at noon.