Bordeaux and Saint Michel!

Well how about that I have written several posts on the wines of the region of Bordeaux but not much on its monuments! sacre bleu!!! This is one of my favorite cities in my belle France and candidate for my retirement years!!! We have spent several family trips here over the years.

The whole huge area around Bordeaux is connected by a beltway road, the “rocade” or the A630 that takes you into the city or out into the other areas and into Spain. My best is to go into the Médoc, the famous area of wines but it has a lot more. From the rocade you  take exit 4 to go into central Bordeaux or exit /sortie in French to no 7 that takes you into the side D1/D2 of wine country along the Garonne river, the other exit/sortie no 8 takes you into the beaches and central area of Medoc.

Its time for me to correct the unnaming and tell you about some of the monuments of the city of Bordeaux.

Bordeaux is in the Gironde dept 33 of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France and I like to tell you a bit on the Basilica of St Michel.


The Basilica of Saint-Michel is one of the main Catholic places of worship in the city of Bordeaux. Built from the 14C to the 16C, it is characteristic of the flamboyant Gothic style. The church gave its name to the neighbourhood in which it is located.

The basilica shares with Saint-André Cathedral (see posts) the particularity of having a bell tower 15C independent of the sanctuary or campanile. Rising to a height of 114 meters (378 feet), it is the highest in the South of France and the second tallest in France.

In 1466, a college of canons was installed in the church, still under construction. The latter becomes an important stage on the way to Saint-James of Compostela, as evidenced by the Saint-James Chapel. In 1791, the departmental directory ordered the removal of the old parish cemetery surrounding the church, the current Place Meynard. The bones are piled up in the crypt located under the bell tower, then covered with earth. It was during this work that dozens of mummified bodies were discovered, the “mummies of Saint Michael”. The latter are placed in the crypt, which is open to visitors until 1979. On this date, the bodies are again buried, this time in the Chartreuse cemetery.


The Basilica of St Michel measures 75 meters long from the Choir at the entrance to the nave and 38 meters wide from one cross to the other, the basilica is one of the largest places of worship in Bordeaux.

Bordeaux aug06

Here, curiously, its spire tower was built in the 15C on an old mass grave where were installed at the end of the 18C mummies exhumed from the cemetery formerly located around it. With their tense figures, these dry bodies will haunt the Saint-Michel Crypt for a long time. Thus these mummies (they were nearly 70) attracted thousands of visitors including some famous writers like, Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, Théophile Gautier or closer to us Ferdinand Céline. You could see “L’Enterré Vivant” (the living buried), “the family poisoned by mushrooms”, “L’africaine” (the African), a general killed in a duel, etc. This macabre round ended in 1990. Today an audiovisual reconstructs the origins of this exhibition of which many Bordeaux residents have kept a memory. The spire tower of Saint-Michel and its Crypt are open every day in season.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and its a must are

City of Bordeaux on the Basilica St Michel

Tourist office of Bordeaux on the Basilica St Michel

Tourist office of Bordeaux on the spiral tower of the Basilica of St Michel

And there you go folks another wonderful monument of my belle France in a splendid city like Bordeaux where the sights mix well with the smells…. Enjoy this time the Basilica of Saint Michel and its spiral tower.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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4 Comments to “Bordeaux and Saint Michel!”

  1. Lovely spot to retire to.

    Liked by 1 person

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