Archive for March 1st, 2020

March 1, 2020

The Cathedral and Bourges!

These are monuments for all mankind regardless of your views, and works of art to be admire and maintained. The foundation of modern societies and a huge chunk of our history. The Cathedrals are an architectural marvel of mankind and we are lucky to have several.

I have written on Bourges before, but feel a single post on the Saint Stephen Cathedral or Cathédrale Saint Etienne is in order. We were impressed by it and return again. Hope you enjoy the brief introduction as for these monuments we can write a book!

Bourges is the prefecture of the department of the Cher no.18 in the region of Centre Val de Loire. It is also the historic capital of Berry, province of the Ancien Régime (monarchies) corresponding approximately to the current departments of Indre and Cher.

The best is the magnificent Cathedral of St Etienne or St Stephen, built from 1194 to 1506. One of the great Cathedrals of France. The lights of its stained glass windows, the great organ or Grand Orgue  and rebuilt several times afterward. In the 16C, the organs are mentioned from the beginning of the 15C. The current large organs were redesigned under the direction of Marie-Claire Alain in 1977. There is a group of organ lovers who look after the Grand Orgue today. The concerts are wonderful indeed, the group in French is here: The Big Organ of Bourges in French


A bit of history I like (brief)

In 1195, Henri de Sully, archbishop of Bourges, brother of Eudes de Sully, bishop of Paris made a donation to the chapter of Bourges cathedral. This donation will be the starting point for the construction of a new cathedral in Bourges, intended to replace the Romanesque cathedral dating from the 11-12C, considered too small, of which little data is available. Historically, there has been a Christian worship center on the site since the 3C, when the Roman city of Avaricum was home to the first Christian community in Gaul. Four buildings followed one another on the site of the current cathedral: monumental crypts were erected by Saint Ursin in the 3C, Saint Palais, archbishop in the 4C, and Raoul de Turenne, archbishop in the 9C. Gauzlin, archbishop of royal blood and the brother of Robert II the Pious, was the builder of the first Romanesque cathedral, at the beginning of the 11C. This new cathedral is the first Gothic building built south of the Loire, and it appeared to be of great importance both for the prestige of the King of France and for that of the Archbishop. After the French revolution, the Cathedral St Etienne or St Stephens was emptied of its furniture. As soon as the public worship ceased, it was dedicated to the Cult of Reason, thus the Temple of Unity was inaugurated on December 10, 1793. Of course

bourges cat st etienne side south dec09

The plan for Bourges cathedral is based on that of Paris cathedral, with a double ambulatory, but removing the transept and the stands. The similarity of the plans of the two cathedrals is perhaps due to the family ties existing between the Archbishop of Bourges, Henri de Sully, and the Bishop of Paris, Eudes de Sully, at the time of their development. The western facade is the widest at 41 meters among those of all the Gothic churches in France. Five gates allow access to the interior, all with double doors, and correspond exactly to the five naves. Bourges cathedral surprises both by its absence of transept and by its double aisle, which extends around the choir by a double ambulatory. The cross section offers a pyramidal profile, the naves being respectively 9 meters, 21.30 meters and 37.50 meters high from the outer aisles to the central nave. The Cathedral St Etienne marks its originality by the breadth of the western facade with its five portals. They are devoted, in order and from left to right, to: Guillaume de Bourges, the Virgin Mary, the Last Judgment (central portal), to the martyr Stephen and to Ursin de Bourges. Bourges cathedral does not have a set of 12-13C stained glass equivalent to that of Chartres cathedral, but it does have stained glass from the 13C to the 17C to see the evolution of this art.



This is a huge monument with so many details I will be lost myself trying to pick on each, rather give you a overall taste, and do come in to see , is a must in my belle France. The Cathedral St Etienne or St Stephen is a work of heaven on earth words cannot describe it, you need to see it and behold. Recommended.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Cathedral St Stephen in English

If you want to get involve these friends of groups are wonderful, I am not in this one but do belong to several in France and  Spain. Here is the one on the Bourges Cathedral: Friends of the Cathedral of Bourges in French

The overall tourist office of Bourges for further info and details is here: Tourist office of Bourges

And again, is a must to see in my belle France and lovely town , we like too. Bourges is quant , old , and friendly. Enjoy the post and thanks for reading once again.

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



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March 1, 2020

A palace and Bourges!!

And here I am again, reveling of the history and monuments of my belle France. I always tell my closest friends and family, the guy who wrote the Movable Feast fell short , he should had traveled more and take a second volume, France is a movable feast! With that say, let me bring you back to quant pretty Bourges , in the Cher dept 18 of the Centre Val de Loire region of my belle France

And as the story goes, written briefly on it before but found some photos in my vault not shown yet so will update the comments on this wonderful Palais Jacques Coeur of Bourges.

A major figure in Bourges and France. Jacques Coeur son of a curtain merchant and a famous citizen of the city of Bourges, worked with his father as supplier to the ducal court and had a fast rise to fame; also marries the daughter of the provost of Bourges, Macée de Léodepart. Later, participates in the making of currency money and becomes the financier of the king or supplier of the Royal court as well as developing an international commercial network enabling him to set up money counters and a navy. However, this fortune becomes too big and bring jealousy of the King Charles VII which leads to the lost of it. He is condemn by Royal justice and becomes a fugitive, later bankrupt finding refuge with the Pope Nicolas V. All his properties were confiscated and sold for the profit of the king and he dies in exile in 1456. The most remarkable trace left in the city is that of the wonderful Palais Jacques Coeur.


The Palais Jacques Coeur was the financier and enthusiast citizen of Bourges emblematic home. Built between 1443 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 1457, 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 lovingly restored in 1869 all interwined with beautiful galleries of paintings and objects d’arts. Very nice indeed,  a must to visit!!


The main site for information in English is the official one at Official Palais Jacques Coeur at Bourges

The overall tourist office for Bourges is at Tourist office of Bourges

And enough said, this is wonderful building and a must to visit while in the area.  The Palais Jacques Coeur ,we love and planning a repeat visit already. Hope you enjoy it as much as I

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




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March 1, 2020

A garden, bishops and Bourges!

And of course after rambling thru the town of Bourges and seeing so much beauty we came to a garden while passing by the museum of best craftsmen of France and just behind the Cathedral St Stephens (St Etienne). This was a welcome sight after so much walk and the history of it is nice.

Let me tell you a bit more on the City/town hall garden or Bishop’s garden depending if you are new or old… At Bourges in the Cher dept 18 of the Centre Val de Loire region.

The Archiepiscopal Palace 17C, former city/town hall, and its French-style garden ,the Bishops garden is a nice place to walk by and soak in on the history and architecture available at Bourges.

Originally, this small garden was inside the medieval town, on the edge of the ramparts. It was effectively enlarged by filling in the ditches located to the North, and enclosing in walls ,the ditch and the escarpment which joined the southern end of the Church Notre-Dame-de-Salles to the Porte de Bourbonnoux. But it was an area with fortifications and it depended on the royal domain, hence the request that will be made to king Louis XIV in 1681 which gives his agreement with the condition, the construction of a wall of 4 meters high above the ground floor and about 2 meters thick in its foundation, with the additional space for a small parapet to allow the passage of patrols in wartime. Elementary indeed!

In 1686, it will be close in one enclosure, the elms which had been planted by the mayor Mr. Hémeré and 1654, the street known as of Hémerettes comes from the name of this mayor. Finally, this land is donated by the city. The wall is then made of La Celle stone, the height is about 5 meters. It was in 1729 after some time, had this space landscaped. It was in 1793 that the episcopal palace became the property of the department and the garden was then a public walk.

The garden of the City/Town Hall or Bishops’ garden, with an area of 3 hectares, is beautifully flowered in all seasons. It includes a part called “à la française” (French style), and the other, with big trees and a bandstand is called “à l’anglaise” (English style). You will notice the Obelisk, at the bottom, near the monumental gates recovered from the Porte d’Auron. In addition to the memory of Stendhal, the garden of the City/Town Hall contains the busts of two locals, Bourdaloue and Sigaud de Laffond. The first pays homage to the inventor preacher of the night vase which bears his name and the second character is unfairly little known, he is the author of treatises on “the art of childbirth”, women owe him a lot. The 4 vases of Cugnot, called the four seasons are works dating from 1880, they had been manufactured by Maison Christofle, they are in galvanic bronze, while the magnificent cherubs, above the dome, are in real bronze.


Legend has it that in his current design the garden was signed by the great landscaper André Le Nôtre. This is an implausible hypothesis since Le Nôtre, to whom we owe the parterres of Vaux le Vicomte and those of Versailles died in 1700, and the Bourges garden in its current structure was only completed 30 years later. However, the classicism of the garden is undoubtedly the work of one of the students of Le Nôtre, with its square and aligned flowerbeds.

The city of Bourges on the garden in French: City of Bourges on the City Hall garden

Tourist office of Bourges

There you a nice walk indeed and pleasant surrounded by such beautiful architecture and historical monuments is tops. Welcome to Bourges, in the Cher in the valley of the Loire and my belle France. Enjoy the City Hall garden!

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

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