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

Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla were the second largest Roman public baths, or thermae, in Rome. It was built between AD 212 and 217, during the reigns of Septimius Severus and Caracalla. They would have had to install over 2,000t of material every day for six years in order to complete it in this time. 

The baths remained in use until the 6th century when the complex was taken by the Ostrogoths during the Gothic War, at which time the hydraulic installations were destroyed. The bath was free and open to the public. The earthquake of 847 destroyed much of the building, along with many other Roman structures.

The building was heated by a hypocaust, a system of burning coal and wood underneath the ground to heat water provided by a dedicated aqueduct. It was in use up to the 19th century. The Aqua Antoniniana aqueduct, a branch of the earlier Aqua Marcia, by Caracalla was specifically built to serve the baths. It was most likely reconstructed by Garbrecht and Manderscheid to its current place.

In the 19th and early 20th century, the design of the baths was used as the inspiration for several modern structures, including St George's Hall in Liverpool and the original Pennsylvania Station in New York City. At the 1960 Summer Olympics, the venue hosted the gymnastics events.