Bordeaux, a clock and a gate!

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 Grosse Cloche and the Porte Dijeaux.

The Grosse Cloche or big bell of Bordeaux is the belfry of the old city/town hall. It is one of the rare civil monuments that the city preserves from the Middle Ages. It was restored in 2016. It is located at the end of rue Saint James, at the foot of Saint Eloi Church facing rue du Mirail and slightly back from Cours Victor Hugo.

It was built in the 15C on the remains of the old Saint-Éloy Gate ,also called Saint James gate of the 13C attached to the Saint-Éloi Church of the 12C, open on the rampart of the 13C and under which the pilgrims of Saint James passed on their way to Compostela.


It is made up of two circular towers 40 meters high connected by a central building and dominated by the golden leopard. The large bell is surmounted by a weather vane with an animal which we are often told is the golden leopard symbol of Guyenne. More likely, this leopard would in fact be the one inherited from the kings of England during the English domination of Bordeaux.  All the successive modifications made between the 15C and the 17C will transform the primitive physiognomy of this gate which has become a belfry, the bell tower of the city having been added to it since the 15C.. The city magistrates rang the bell to give the signal for the harvest and alert the population in the event of a fire. This is the reason why it has always been the symbol of the city and still appears on the city’s coat of arms today. The current bell was made in June 1775 and weighs 7,800 kg for two meters in height and diameter!

It rang the commemoration of the victory of May 8, 1945, since then,   due to its weight and the risk of cracks that could cause the vibrations of the bell, it rang only a few times when it was put back in place in the bell tower, following its restoration and during General de Gaulle’s visit to the city on April 10, 1961. Until June 2016, it rang every year five times a year. Since then, it also rings every first Sunday of the month.  The clock built in 1759 replaced that of 1567. Above it is a sundial.

The tourist office of BordeauxTourist office of Bordeaux on the Grosse Cloche

The Porte Dijeaux gate is a gateway to the city of Bordeaux. The Porte Dijeaux is located at the western end of the decumanus formed by the alignment of rue Porte Dijaux and rue Saint-Rémi. It leads to Place Gambetta slightly behind Place Gambetta at the end of Rue Bouffard. On the other side it is at the intersection of the street that bears its name and the rue des Remparts. It can also be reached from the Cours de l’Intendance by taking rue Bouffard. It is also visible to walkers coming from rue Sainte Catherine from the corner of the Galerie Bordelaise. Rue Porte Dijeaux is an important shopping street in Bordeaux. In terms of attendance, it comes second behind rue Sainte Catherine. It is also a pedestrian street.


Porte Dijeaux is also known as Porte Dauphine under king Louis XIV. The origin of the name would be related to the temple of Jupiter which stood at this location in Gallo-Roman times. The Porte Dijeaux was an entrance to the west of the city of Bordeaux from Roman times and the first line of fortification. Outside, a half-moon merlon, 8 to 10 meters high, served as a redoubt. On the other side the triangle is occupied by the Royal symbols, crown and fleur-de-lis, but also two wings, a helmet and a fish. Under the triangle an animal head overhangs the number 1748 which corresponds to the date of its construction. This last gate was replaced by the current monument, built between 1748 and 1753, and it remains today isolated and deprived of its pedestrian lateral counters.

City of Bordeaux: City of Bordeaux story on the Porte Dijeaux

There is some information on the city of Bordeaux page but more from my books, unfortunately its the only gate I can find a picture so here it is but Bordeaux has several others just as nice. Hope you enjoy the post and do come walk the streets of Bordeaux they are loaded with gorgeous monuments with great architecture and history I Like

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





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