Top Historic Sights in Bourges, France

Explore the historic highlights of Bourges

Bourges Cathedral

Bourges Cathedral of St. Etiénne, one of the finest Gothic cathedrals, was built mainly between 1195 and 1260. The unknown architect designed it without transepts, which, combined with the interior’s unusual height and width, makes it seem much lighter than most Gothic cathedrals. Structural problems with the South tower led to the building of the adjoining buttress tower in the mid-14th century. The North to ...
Founded: 1195-1260 | Location: Bourges, France

Jacques Coeur Palace

Born in Bourges some time around the year 1400, Jacques Coeur rapidly rose to the top of the social ladder. After his appointment as Finance Minister to the King and being made a nobleman, he began the construction of his Palace, which was finished around 1450. This monument was unique in France for its time but illustrates well the original personality of its builder. It is a precursor of the mansions of the Renaissance ...
Founded: ca. 1450 | Location: Bourges, France

The Berry Museum

The Hôtel Cujas, which is a listed historical monument, has housed the Berry Museum since 1892. The ground floor is occupied by the archaeological collections, with protohistoric (locally-found bronze Etruscan artefacts) and especially Gallo-Roman finds. Bourges-Avaricum was the capital of the ancient province of Aquitaine. The lapidary section includes a large number of funeral items (220 steles), as well as fr ...
Founded: 1892 | Location: Bourges, France

The Museum of Decorative Arts

The Museum of Decorative Arts has been housed in the Hôtel Lallemant since 1951. Its boasts collections of French and Dutch furniture, including a rare carved, engraved ebony cabinet, inlaid and japanned furniture, a set of 16th and 17th century tapestries, as well as items in faïence, enamels, ivories, glasswork, clocks, miniature furniture made by master craftsmen. Flemish, Italian and French paintings lend ...
Founded: 1951 | Location: Bourges, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Goseck Circle

The Goseck circle is a Neolithic circle structure. It may be the oldest and best known of the Circular Enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. It also may be one of the oldest Solar observatories in the world. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres across and two palisade rings containing gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the solstice days.

Its construction is dated to c. 4900 BC, and it seems to have remained in use until 4600 BC. This corresponds to the transitional phase between the Neolithic Linear Pottery and Stroke-ornamented ware cultures. It is one of a larger group of so-called Circular Enclosures in the Elbe and Danube region, most of which show similar alignments.

Excavators also found the remains of what may have been ritual fires, animal and human bones, and a headless skeleton near the southeastern gate, that could be interpreted as traces of human sacrifice or specific burial ritual. There is no sign of fire or of other destruction, so why the site was abandoned is unknown. Later villagers built a defensive moat following the ditches of the old enclosure.

The Goseck ring is one of the best preserved and extensively investigated of the many similar structures built at around the same time. Traces of the original configuration reveal that the Goseck ring consisted of four concentric circles, a mound, a ditch, and two wooden palisades. The palisades had three sets of gates facing southeast, southwest, and north. At the winter solstice, observers at the center would have seen the sun rise and set through the southeast and southwest gates.

Archaeologists generally agree that Goseck circle was used for observation of the course of the Sun in the course of the solar year. Together with calendar calculations, it allowed coordinating an easily judged lunar calendar with the more demanding measurements of a solar calendar.