Bourges ,the city of night lights!

And I am taking you to the old Berry country in the center of France, the old Centre ,now it is dept Cher no. 18 in the region of Centre-Val-de-Loire.  I have come here with the family and business and always love to come back.

That is how the tourist office describes the city, or La Ville des Nuits Lumiére (the city of night lights lit.). It is lighted at night in a quaint medieval ambiance which makes it unique. Love to walk its cobblestone streets and the hilly ones to climb stairs from one level to the next, it is awesome.

This is how I will tell you about Bourges.  You can easily drive here on the A10 from Paris and connect with the A71 at Orleans ,and the A85 put you in Tours fast too. The best parking in town is at quartier St Bonnet for free on the streets if come early in the morning or underground paying by the Halle au Blé. Driving is always reliable with via Michelin if not a GPS ,webpage www.viamichelin.co.uk  As far as public transport never taken here, the city is easy to get and very nice to walk, but there is a nice bus system Agglobus at 1 place de la Nation, webpage  http://www.agglobus.com/ . As far as train ,there is a station at place du Général Leclerc, the TER Centre will give more choices on local schedules at  TER train in region Centre Val de Loire  The service to Paris is limited and you leave from Paris Austerlitz station, or go to Gare de Vierzon and take another train to Bourges.

The city is very old from antiquity days, in the middle ages it was part of the kingdom of Aquitaine, until the 14C it becomes the capital of the dukedom of Berry. It goest thru the war of Religion ok, and arrives at the French revolution where deputies were elected to the assembly from Bourges on the side of the new republic. It is a major center of defense building and aviation related parts with huge numbers of military stationed in bases outside the city. WWI and WWII were of small consequences to the city.

Some of the must see sights in the city are the Cathedrale St Etienne, Palais Jacques Coeur, Hôtel Cujàs (musée du Berry, archeology, local artifacts), Hôtel Lallemand (musée renaissance arts decoratifs) , Musée des meilleurs ouvriers de France (best form a la French!) la Halle au Blé b1836, walk the many wooden houses or maison du bois from around 1488.

The best is the magnificent Cathedral of St Etienne or St Stephen, (see post apart) built from 1194 to 1506AD. One of the great Cathedrals of France. The lights of its stained glass windows, the great organ or Grand Orgue ( 1487-1506 and rebuilt several times afterward)  and the horloge astronomique or astronomic clock built in 1424AD. There is a group of organ lovers who look after the Grand Orgue today, and you can see and participate webpage http://www.grandorguebourges.org/ The Cathedral is wonderful and these folks explain it better, the official parrish site for the Cathedral, the French part is more exhaustive but it has some in English, http://www.diocese-bourges.org/cathedrale/index.htm

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The Palais Jacques Coeur,(see post apart) is the financier and enthusiast citizen of Bourges.  The was the money issuer tresorier of king Charles VII and a merchant of a great empire at the time.  Built between 14’3 to 1451 , it was considered  as the best example of a private urban building. It was confiscated by the king in 1451 after Jacques Coeur was arrested(he died in the ile de Chios in 1456 after taking part in a crusade vs the Turks)  and given back to the family in 1457AD, Colbert was its last private owner who sold it to the city in 1682. After it became the Hotel de Ville or mayors office then the seat of the tribunal or courthouse where many modifications were made between 1820 and 1830. In 1923 the State or France buys the building, where today is a national historical monument and open to the public. The beautiful facade given to the street level across from the today Hotel de Ville, an interior courtyard showing the principal logis and the central towers, the magnificent decorated interiors such as the salle des festins or grand reception room for feasts, petite cuisine or heating room and shower room, the Salle d’Apparat, where the audiences were held  of the royal court in 1822, where Raspail amongst others were judge after their insurrection in 1848, the Cabinet des échevins in the donjon tower, showing the first money coined by Jacques Coeur, the Chambre des Galées showing the sea trials and combats of Jacques Coeur, the Cabinet de Travail, or study room, the Chapelle loving restored in 1869 all interwined with beautiful galleries of paintings and objects d’arts. Very nice indeed. webpage in English here http://palais-jacques-coeur.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

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The Halle au blé was built in 1836 over the convent of cordeliers  building that was converted to public use since 1791 ; it used to store the wheat and other cereal from the great Berry area, and today it is a major covered marché or market and great parking area! From the 19c it is the place to shop for local goodies in Bourges.

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the Hôtel Cujas now houses the Musée du Berry, the building dates from 1515 and was the home of jurist Cujas since 1585. The museum is set up here since 1950 with a collection of the history of Bourges and its region from prehistoric times to the present.  Admission is Free. 4 rue des Arénes, the webpage is that of the city of Bourges that manages it, but you can contact the museum at musees@ville-bourges.fr or tel +33 02 48 70 41 92. It is wonderful from the historical perpective of the collection and the the architecture of the building.

Hôtel Lallemand, built around 1500AD ,its an example of the first Renaissance period in France/ The building has the feel of been in inclination as it is built over the gallo-roman ramparts! It is a beautiful building indeed. It houses today the Musée des arts decoratifs since 1951and managed by the city of Bourges.It has exquisite objects d’arts from the Renaissance period such as clocks, tapestries, paintings of France, Italy and Low Countries, as well as furniture, enamel and ivory items, just superb . Same email contact as the Hôtel Cujas above with tel +33 02 48 57 81 17.

The Musée des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, (tops a must see) at the old episcopal bishops palace and open since 1995, showcasing the best art form in France from cuisine to leather makers to wood makers craftmens that was established in France from 1924. If you want to know the French joie de vivre then come here, we all enjoy it much. At the Place Etienne Dolet just around the corner from the Cathedral. The webpage of the association is here in French ,http://www.meilleursouvriersdefrance.info/presentation.php and the webpage in English of the city of Bourges with all museums info http://www.ville-bourges.fr/english/culture-leisure/museums.php

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bourges inside musee des meilleurs ouvriers de france

It has a nice marais or swampy area just around the city limits, a gorgeous Jardin de l’Archeveque or bishops gardens, the fact that king Louis XI was born here in 1423. The wonderful street rue Bourbonnoux medieval and nice  as well as the promenade des Remparts, and see the maison des 3 flûtes ,15C  by rue Bourbonnoux and end of rue Moliére.

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With the family we stay at a great logis de France property ,Le Christina, right next to the Halle au Ble and nearby free parking! Great comfort, good prices, and wonderful friendly service, at http://www.le-christina.com/

For eating we had our mouthful at Le Bourbonneux, 44 rue Bourbonneux, wonderful traditional French choices change with season but the menu at 19€ is excellent value, webpage http://www.bourbonnoux.com/ . We try the Le Louis XI, 11 rue Porte Jaune, for great beef on wood oven with all the sauces , wonderful meal evenings and good value. Yelp review site has more but very near the Cathedral, Yelp on the Le Louis XI at Bourges.  The winner was lunch at La Scala, 1 place Planchat, corner on a nice old section area, great pizzas, italian dishes, all music italian the waiters sang Italian listening to Eros Ramazzotti is tops, will need to go back one weekend. All richly decorated, great food, great service, great prices a must. webpage La Scala at Bourges 

Well here is the official Bourges tourist office,  Tourist office of Bourges in English  , and the tourist office for the region still name Berry !  Regional tourism Berry Provence in English on Bourges and the city of Bourges has excellent info on tourism in English too http://www.ville-bourges.fr/english/introduction/introduction.php

Enjoy Bourges, a very nice town and wonderful Cathedral. And remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

 

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