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

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

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 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

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style building with side-aisles raised to the same height as the main aisle.

On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.

Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.

The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.

Since the war, the famous altar of Hans Memling has been in the medieval collection of the St. Annen Museum, but notable polyptychs remain in the cathedral.

In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.