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Top Places to Visit In Bourges, France

Updated on March 31, 2012
rue Gordaine Bourges France
rue Gordaine Bourges France

Nestled in the center or "Heart of France" is Bourges, a small town with a lot of love. Well off the beaten path, Bourges is not a likely destination for foreign visitors, which means is that if go there you'll see a side of the French people that aren't stressed out like Parisians. If it is charm and hospitality you're after, than Bourges should be apart of your France vacation.

In the center ofBourges is a lush, green area called the marais that is set aside for locals to cultivate their own gardens. Canals wind throughout the area so that they can move around in their small wooden boats. The garden is so large that Bourges was named one of France's "Greenest City." They have taken this to heart by playing host for several festivals in the spring and summer times. "Springtime in Bourges," a "Summer in Bourges," and the "International Ecological Film Festival" are all popular international attractions.


Bourges France
Bourges France

Bourges has also taken the lead in becoming France's most environmentally friendly city. They are striving to have the entire town's core, vehicle-free. Needless to say that already most of the streets in the town's core are for pedestrians only.

If you happen to be there during the month of May, they are having their annual "Night-Lights of Bourges" festival. So every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights the town is lit up. Throughout the town you will see projected images of renaissance characters superimposed on the walls of buildings and on the streets.


Bourges France Night-Lights
Bourges France Night-Lights

Bourges has a busy walled market that is open only once a week. So if you are fortunate to be there when it's open take advantage and browse the discount clothing, jewelry, trinkets and food. If it's shopping you're after, Bourges has everything in walking distance from its main pedestrian road, rue Mirbeau. The great thing about Bourges is that it's not a long walk between its main points of interest. This will come to some relief for those who have been to Paris and have had to use their subway systems.

Jacques Coeur Palace
Jacques Coeur Palace

The thing I like most about Bourges is its history. Perhaps the most famous Bourgesois (at least in his days) was Jacques Cœur. Renowned for being a big businessman of his day, he operated his merchant company out of Bourges. He became so wealthy that the King of France grew envious of his wealth and managed to seize all of his funds to finance a war. His palace still remains and accepts tours several times a day.

Something you will not be able to resist is visiting the Saint-Etienne cathedral. Standing as the largest structure in Bourges its size is second only to Paris' Nôtre-Dame cathedral. The massive cathedral contains some of France's best stained-glass windows. Each one tells a story from the Bible, so see if you can recognize all of them. If they are letting visitors go to the roof, take advantage of that once in a lifetime opportunity and see Bourges in Panorama. It may be windy up there so be sure to hang onto your hat! If you are not blocking the way going up the winding staircase (the stairs are very narrow) take the time to read some of the graffiti on the walls, some of them are over three-hundred years old.

Saint-Etienne Cathedral
Saint-Etienne Cathedral

If you're into medieval castles, Bourges is the place to see them. Rent a car and visit the sites where Joan of Arc commanded the French armies. Bourges served as the capital of France during the "Hundred Years War," and the castles that were built to stop the British from advancing are magnificent. If the gore aspect of visiting castles is not appealing than go see the gardens that surround them, they seem to have spared no expense in sprucing them up for visitors.

Pictures courtesy of the City of Bourges



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    • profile image

      S. Hill 

      7 years ago

      I would love to visit this city. It looks beautiful and has a lot of history to it. If I am able to travel to France, this city is definitely on my list of places to visit, and I would love to see the beautiful Cathedral of St. Etienne.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi guys I live in Bourges and its kind of twon city, calm and nice, its la compagne in france with all it means, do not hesitate to visit thi scity and give me a call an di will drive you around to see the beautiful compagne of france 0622126540

    • profile image

      Helen McKenna 

      8 years ago

      I am stopping in Bourges in August this year. Thank you for the info, really looking forward to it now...

    • profile image

      ebaby Lauj... 

      8 years ago

      I am heading there march... I can't wait to see the city!

    • France Travel Inf profile image

      France Travel Inf 

      8 years ago

      We love Bourges! The cathedral is amazing and there is a wonderful tea shop built in the old city wall that we really enjoy going to. Thanks for bringing back good memories!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Just had an email from my son to say he is in Bourges at the All Seasons motel and it is fantastic, modern,clean,cheap, should be 5 star, staff is friendly they have decided to stay longer in Bourges. Only complaint was the cost of the many toll roads t/out France.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      it lookes very interesting..

      I will go there for my summer vacation next year

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i went on a trip to france and im trying to figure out the places i visited, i think i came here but can you please include more pics? thanks

    • profile image

      higgily mut 

      9 years ago

      lol not a clue wht this means weird

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      nice place to visit. great hub. I am very interesting. it become another option in choosing traveling place. thanks for share.

    • bbjane profile image


      10 years ago from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

      I love it... Checkout my travel hub: . I hope you like it.


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