The great air-raid siren mystery

///The great air-raid siren mystery

The great air-raid siren mystery

Twice a day Monday to Friday (I think), at midday and fifteen minutes later at precisely 12.15 the peace and quiet of the Contades district of Strasbourg is shattered by the sound of an almighty air-raid siren. Well, it obviously can’t be an ‘air-raid’ siren, because there aren’t any air-raids, but it is a siren nonetheless. Loud and brutal.

The question is : where is this noise coming from, and why? Is it the official lunchtime toll? Is it a pigeon scarer? I need some help here. Can anyone solve the great air-raid siren mystery of Strasbourg?

By |2008-09-03T18:48:57+00:00September 3rd, 2008|Strasbourg|7 Comments

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  1. Ross September 3, 2008 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Got a feeling that it’s only the first Wednesday of every month…but weird none the less. Ross.

  2. Erica September 4, 2008 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    I work in the Netherlands, and we have them on the first Monday of every month as a test of the civil defense system.

  3. Bart September 4, 2008 at 1:18 pm - Reply


    Thank you Erica & Ross. That Wikipedia page led me to the French Interior Ministry‘s website. Here’s a rough translation:

    The National Alert Network (RNA), of around 4 500 sirens, are there to alert local populations of immediate danger. The sirens emit a signal composed of three sequences of one minute, separated by a silence of five seconds. The RNA sirens are tested at midday on the first Wednesday of each month.

    So it is an air-raid siren! A WWII hangover it seems. But the question remains – where exactly is it?

  4. Matt September 5, 2008 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    I have seen them in the past on top of Mairies in villages and small towns. So I imagine it will be on top of a civic building – although I hear it too, I do not know where.

  5. The Flashing Blade March 4, 2009 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    […] am not the first to notice this.  Strasbourg Englishman has done so here.  He has also in response to his own comment has posted the answer to what the siren is and why […]

  6. Mike Lucas February 3, 2016 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Yes, it’s in the Place de la Gare in Strasbourg, right next to the Mercure hotel, from where I’m hearing it as I write …

    • Bart Hulley February 3, 2016 at 11:45 am - Reply

      They’re all over the place in fact – on top of the Opera House, the Synagogue…

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