Rouen Cathedral acts to stop visitors spying

The telescopic devices were intended to allow visitors to look up at the Gothic cathedral...not to spy on the neighbours

Rouen Cathedral has been forced to alter the angle of its new telescopic devices after it emerged that some people were using them to spy on the neighbours.

The devices were installed on the square in front of the cathedral in Rouen (Seine-Maritime, Normandy), in May this year, and were intended to enable visitors to have a closer look at the building’s tall Gothic towers and architecture.

However, it has since become apparent that some visitors were instead using the lenses to spy on people living in the houses nearby.

Residents alerted the Métropole de Rouen authorities, who quickly responded, sending the devices back to their original manufacturers to make changes.

Visitors will now only be able to point the telescopic end towards the cathedral, and nowhere else.

In a statement, the city said: “This was creating discomfort for neighbours. We have therefore chosen to reduce the viewing angle of the devices, and it will no longer be possible to point them in all directions.”

Rouen Cathedral - full name Cathédrale Primatiale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption de Rouen in French - is the tallest church in France, reaching 151 metres high at its tallest point.

Although a church was already known at the location in the 4th century, the cathedral as it stands today began construction in the 12th century, and was officially completed in 1876.

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