The Francis 1st tower, which was built in the early days of the city, was for a long time one of the symbols of Le Havre. It was destroyed in 1861, at the same time as the fortifications that surrounded the city.

Before that, it was mentioned by several authors and appeared in numerous engravings and paintings. It features in Mémoires by Guillaume de Marceilles (c. 1517-1594) in the 16th century, the first historical account on the city. In the 18th century, author Marie Le Masson Le Golft (1749-1826) described it in Coup d’œil sur l’état présent et ancien du Havre.

In the 19th century, the tower was mentioned by Gérard de Nerval (1808-1855) in the story of his journey to England. It is also included in the first Romantic era travel guides, including those written by Abel Hugo (1798-1855), Victor Hugo’s brother, La France pittoresque, or by local figure Joseph Morlent (1793-1861) in Voyage historique et pittoresque du Havre à Rouen (1839). Jules Janin (1804-1874) also included the tower in his Voyage de Paris à la mer.