What to do in and around Bourges ?
The must-sees in Bourges
You are in Bourges and you are looking for what to do around Bourges? The city and its surroundings are full of places to visit and activities to do! Take advantage of your visit to the region to make a little getaway to the city's must-see places.
During your stay in the capital of Berry, you will be able to stroll in the streets, and visit some of the emblematic monuments of the city. History and architecture lovers will be delighted by all the historical buildings and streets full of history to see in Bourges!
The Saint-Etienne de Bourges cathedral
Among the monuments of the city, you can't miss the Saint-Etienne de Bourges Cathedral and the Jacques Cœurs Palace. The cathedral of Bourges, a Catholic religious center, was built between the 12th and 13th centuries. It is considered one of the most beautiful in France with its avant-garde architecture.
In the heart of the cathedral, you can admire one of the oldest astronomical clocks in France, dating back to 1424. The gothic cathedral, classified as a historical monument since 1862, welcomes more than 600,000 visitors every year. Every visitor passing through Bourges wishes to admire this grandiose building listed as a UNESCO heritage site since 1992.
During your visit, you can also discover the crypt of the cathedral, and climb the 400 steps of the spiral staircase of the Butter Tower. At the top, you will enjoy a unique and breathtaking view of the city from the highest tower of the cathedral.
Once you've visited the cathedral, you can take a walk in the archbishop's garden, a magnificent green space designed in the 17th century, and fully appreciate the scenery that awaits you.
The Jacques Coeur Palace
Jacques Coeur, born in Bourges, is a very important personality of the city of Bourges. He was a merchant, trader, but also a banker and shipowner. This rich merchant even had the honor of being an advisor to King Charles VII. This emblematic character of the city was the first Frenchman to have commercial relations with the Levantine countries. His fortune, amassed over the years with his commercial and industrial enterprises, allowed him to help Charles VII to reconquer his territory under English occupation. His success made him the richest man in France, until his fall in 1451 when he was imprisoned and banished 5 years later.
Although he never lived there, he undertook the construction of his gothic palace in the 15th century. Considered one of the most beautiful civil works of the 16th century for its architecture, this is one of the buildings not to be missed during your visit to Bourges. Inside the building, take your time to walk through the different corridors and rooms, to admire the sumptuous details of the unique architecture of the palace, from the friezes to the fireplaces in each room, through the stained glass windows and numerous sculptures. You will be amazed by the monumental fireplace in the banquet hall and the splendor of the roofs in the shape of an overturned boat.
Visit of the museums, the historical city center and the ramparts
In Bourges, tourism has no limits! The city of Bourges is full of various museums and art galleries that will make art lovers dream: the Maurice-Estève museum, the Bourge Natural History Museum, the Museum of the Best Workers of France, the Museum of Decorative Arts located in the Lallemant Hotel, the Museum of the Resistance and Deportation...
Finish your historical escapade by strolling through the heart of the city's historic downtown. On this occasion, you will take a trip back in time with the half-timbered houses, which allow the city to keep its medieval aspect. Stroll through the streets, take a break on the terrace of the Place Gordaine and continue your journey through time by letting yourself be enchanted by the houses and the atmosphere that surrounds you. During your excursion in the historical center, don't miss a walk on the ramparts. You will discover the remains of the ramparts built in the 4th century.
A few steps from the city center, you will also have the opportunity to discover the marshes of Bourges. These marshes include about 1500 plots cultivated by various owners who maintain the place while embellishing it.
Going out in Bourges : the events of the city
In Bourges, the year is punctuated by various cultural and festive events. No matter what time of year you come, there is sure to be an event you can attend!
Among the most famous, discover the Spring of Bourges: created in 1977, this major event, with a national and even European influence, is the event not to be missed. This festival, dedicated to contemporary music, will make you dance until the end of the night!
The Nuits Lumières event is particularly well known in the capital of Berry. Throughout the summer period, the Nights and Lights of Bourges illuminates the most beautiful buildings of the city, flooding them with emotional sound and light animations.
Other festivities await you with the spring of the poets, the medieval festivals, the fair Jacques Coeur, the beautiful summer of Bourges, the fair of wines and gastronomy and many others!
Finally, throughout your stay in Bourges, don't miss to offer yourself gourmet breaks to discover the culinary specialties of Berry! Forestine de Bourges, poirat, potato pancake, truffiat, sanciau, beugnon and critrouillat are waiting for you to delight your taste buds with new flavors!
Exploration of Bourges and its surroundings
Tourism in Bourges and its surroundings is full of castles to visit. If you feel like leaving the city to discover its surroundings, you can explore the different castles of Berry. All the art and old stones lovers will find their happiness by going to these castles, some of which are located at less than one hour from the capital of Berry: what to make you a nice little planning of visits!
The Castle of Sagonne
Located 45 kilometers from Bourges, the Château de Sagonne is the closest castle to the capital of Berry. A real fortress, it is in the heart of a medieval village full of charm. The followers of the picturesque villages will take pleasure to discover this place charged with a history as long as prestigious. Indeed, the owner of this castle was none other than Jules Hardouin Mansart, the architect of Versailles.
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The Château de la Verrerie
Built in the 15th century, the Château de la Verrerie charms its visitors with its beauty and the landscape that surrounds it. You will be able to fully appreciate the landscape that is offered to you thanks to the path that borders the lake where the castle is reflected.
The interior of the castle, as for him, contains some treasures such as the Pleurants. These statues of alabaster decorated the tomb of Duke Jean de Berry.
In the heart of its chapel, you can also discover frescoes from the 16th century.
The Castle of Meillant
Head south of Bourges to visit the Château de Meillant, classified as a historical monument since 1963. Located at about 40 minutes from the capital of Berry, this castle will enchant you with its flamboyant gothic architecture. Discover the chapel and its 16th century stained glass windows, as well as the many events that the castle hosts throughout the year, including activities such as the "Crime in the Castle" tour!
The Castle of Blancafort
Nature and history lovers can visit the magnificent Château de Blancafort, located an hour's drive from Bourges, in the middle of nature. Surrounded by sumptuous gardens, this 15th century fortified house will seduce you with its pink bricks, its architecture and its history.
You can also opt for nature escapades in the various natural spaces around Bourges, or visit the George Sand domain, the Noirlac bocage or the village of Sancerre. You can also venture to the lake of Virlay or the floral park of Apremont. Not to mention your visit to the Villa Monin!