An enchanting medieval city, Bourges was the capital of the historic Province of Berry and a middle of trade the 15th and 16th centuries.
The old town is replete with luxurious mansions built for merchants, side-by-side with top-heavy half-timbered houses.
The cathedral is an absolute wonder and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, looking like no other church within the world.
Bourges is additionally the place to urge to understand Jacques Cœur, a merchant who traveled far and wide and worked his way into the court of King Charles VII . And if that isn’t enough you’ll escape into the pastoral Marais where thousands of little garden plots are navigated by a lattice of water channels.
Let’s explore the simplest things to try to to in Bourges:
1. Bourges Cathedral
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bourges Cathedral is extraordinary on many levels.
The first thing which may catch your eye is that the lack of a transept, as there’s no break between the nave and choir.
This departure from the norm is merely made possible by the rows of flying buttresses that run the length of the nave and choir.
On the within , there’s a singular double aisle that seamlessly becomes a double ambulatory.
At this eastern side of the church, nearly all of the glass you’ll see is original, remarkably surviving from the 1215 and conveying bible scenes like Christ’s parables, the eagerness , the Apocalypse, and Judgment Day .
2. Cathedral Tower and Crypt
These parts of the cathedral merit another listing because, while you’ve got to pay to ascertain them you won’t regret the tiny charge.
If you’re coming in summer it’s best to try to to this part early because the queues can belong.
Climbing the Tour de Buerre (Butter Tower) is not any mean feat as there are 400 steps, but there’s a panorama of Bourges to reward you at the highest .
The name comes from the means wont to fund this 16th-century tower, as people would pay to be ready to break their fast and eat butter during Lent.
In the crypt, you’ll be within the vestiges of the cathedral’s 11th-century predecessor and may find the tomb of the Duke Jean de Berry who was liable for Bourges’ boom years within the 1300s.
3. Old Town
In 1487 there was an excellent fire in Bourges that destroyed a 3rd of the town and stunted its development because it lost its annual fairs to Troyes and Lyon.
But it also gives us a really unified old town, with diamond-pattern timber houses, packed approximate on streets like Rue Bourbonnoux, and a number of stone-built Renaissance mansions.
All you would like are your own two feet and a way of wonder and you’ll find exciting landmarks just like the house where the famous merchant Jacques Cœur was born in 1395. There also are some fantastic merchants’ houses from earlier within the 1400s that survived the hearth and are either attractions on their own terms or host the city’s museums.
4. Palais Jacques-Cœur
In the middle of the 15th-century the rich merchant and treasurer to King Charles VII , Jacques Cœur commissioned this breathtaking Gothic residence.
The Palais Jacques-Cœur came sometime before the Loire Valley’s exuberant Renaissance châteaux, but its carvings lack none of their elegance and richness.
Like its first owner, who opened trade between France and therefore the Levant, the palace has many stories to tell: As you progress from the galleried courtyard to the spiral staircases, steam rooms, private apartments, servants’ areas, and treasure room, video presentations with fill you in about the architecture, decoration and therefore the people that lived here.
5. Jardin de l’Archevêché
Next to the cathedral, these gardens were laid within the 1730s for the Archbishop of Bourges, eventually becoming the park for the government building .
In a familiar French style, there are boxwood topiaries trimmed to sharp points, lime trees within the shape of globes also as formal lawns and flowerbeds hemmed by paths.
You’ll also always have a privileged view of the cathedral’s awesome flying buttresses as you’re taking your turn in these gardens.
There’s a restaurant within the park, kids can hit the playground and you’ll stop at the romantic Belle Époque bandstand for a better look.
6. Marais de Bourges
Just a couple of minutes from the Old Town is an enclave of reclaimed marshland encompassing 135 hectares.
In past this boggy countryside slowed Julius Caesar’s advance in his conquest of Gaul in 52BC. But from round the 8th century, the marshes were brought under human control, and are available the 17th-century they were drained and crisscrossed by an internet of water channels.
Now the Marais is an outside escape for walkers and cyclists, to not mention urban gardening because the Marais is split into almost 1,500 allotments that wont to keep the entire city stocked fruits and vegetables.
The channels abound with fish and waterfowl, and there isn’t a prettier place to get on warm June day when the gardens are in flower.
7. Musée du Berry
Hôtel Cujas is yet one more of Bourges’ fine old houses with a museum inside.
This Flamboyant Gothic mansion was conceived for a Florentine merchant in 1515 and is known as for Jacques Cujas, a 16th-century jurist who was a tenant for the previous couple of years of his life.
The Musée du Berry inside wont to be at the Palais Jacques-Cœur, but moved here in 1891. within the course of just about 200 years, it’s amassed a riveting assortment of mosaics, ceramics, and statues.
Some excavated within the city, just like the 220 Gallo-Roman Steles from Ancient Bourges, while there also are finds from Ancient Egypt, including a mummy from the 4th century BC.
8. Musée Estève
This museum for the 20th-century artist, Maurice Estève could hardly have a nobler home.
The building is that the Hôtel des Échevins (House of the Aldermen), a Gothic mansion with ornate stonework on its tower.
Over three floors connected by the tower’s spiral staircase, the museum has the most important single collection of art by Estève, whose career lasted eight decades and took him from surrealism to abstraction via a figurative period.
In the softly lit Galerie Lejuge, you’ll see his sensational collages, watercolors, and drawings, which are rotated every few months to stay them conserved.
9. Les Nuits Lumière
In the evening from June to September, the town’s most beautiful Gothic and Renaissance landmarks are lit with magnificent projections.
At the Cathedral, Jardin de l’Archevêché and Hôtel des Échevins Palais these ethereal images are combined with music, and a part of a walk that literally sheds new light on Bourges and its past.
The climax though is that the Palais Jacques-Cœur, where you’ll enter the courtyard to urge to understand more about this merchant, his voyage to the center East and time within the service of the King.
10. Hôtel Lallemant
In Bourges, you won’t tire of seeing the city’s old mansions because each is as beautiful because the last.
Hôtel Lallemant is one you’ll lose hours gazing at due to its external decorative sculptures, which are as sharp as ever and include quirky characters, pilasters, capitals, scrolls, columns and every one sorts more.
The home is a masterpiece of the French Renaissance and was built at the turn of the 16th century for a family of merchants that had originated in Germany.
Hôtel Lallemant is additionally built on the Gallo-Roman wall, which causes a divide between the upper and lower courtyards.
Call certain alittle museum on decorative arts, which features a few rooms of miniature toys and antique furniture.
11. Promenade des Remparts
In the 4th century Avaricum (Gallo-Roman Bourges) became the capital of the Aquitaine Premièr province, then controlled a huge tract of southwestern France.
At that point the town erected a replacement system of walls, gates, and towers to defend itself in what’s now Bourges’ upper town.
With some help from the tourist office, you’ll walk the elliptical course of those defenses.
The Gallo-Roman parts are still visible throughout Bourges’ streetscape within the lowest sections of medieval dwellings, walls, and towers.
12. Jardin des Prés-Michaux
Just north of the middle , on the Left Bank of the Yèvre just after it leaves the Marais may be a calming artistic movement garden landscaped within the 1920s.
Come here to wander by a tremendous array of plant sculptures: The are linden hedges, arches made up of trimmed yews and every one sorts of strange topiaries dotted here and there.
In between are geometric lawns edged flowerbeds next to long, straight promenades.
Art Deco-style Sculptures, fountains, stone reliefs and wisteria-draped pergolas make this a classy place to idle away an hour approximately .
13. Lac du Val d’Auron
A man-made body of water a mere two kilometers south of the old town, the Lac du Val d’Auron is awash with activity in summer.
There’s carp fishing, sailing, and canoeing on the lake, which has meadow and woodland on its southern shores and more of Bourges’ outskirts the further north you go.
It’s not all about watersports though, as there’s an equestrian center on the western shore while just east of the lake is that the 18-hole municipal golf links , with a nine-hole pitch & putt and a golf range .
14. Printemps de Bourges
Live music fans owe it to themselves to see out this festival that happens over five days in April.
Printemps de Bourges features a format that has been copied in many places, as for these few days 13 stages at different locations round the town host some 200 artists.
It’s every week of fun and youthful energy, when some 200,000 people, mostly students, and 20-somethings, pour into the town .
For the industry, the festival may be a major A&R event, and an opportunity to scout up-and-coming talent, especially at the perimeter Les Découvertes du Printemps de Bourges shows for unsigned acts.
15. Route Jacques Cœur
You’ve seen his birthplace and therefore the resplendent mansion that he built, but there’s even more heritage within the Bourges area concerning the city’s famous son.
Jacques Cœur was a reasonably interesting character and you’ll find other places relevant to him on a delegated route that was found out as way back as 1954. There are 16 sites on the itinerary, taking in towns within the region like Sancerre, also beloved for its wine, and Mehun Sur Yèvre, which has the awe-inspiring ruins of a castle where Charles VII died in 1461.