Top 6 places to visit in Bourges, France

Top 6 places to visit in Bourges, France

Bourges in Central France deserves to be better known.  Relatively compact, you can explore the town easily in a weekend. Its only 2 hours by train from Paris or 1 and a half hours from Tours airport. Read on for the top 6 places to visit. 
1 – Cathedral of Saint Etienne

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992, it retains most of its original features. Built between the late 12th and 13th centuries, it’s a masterpiece of Gothic art.
Bourges Cathedral - Luxury Columnist
Most of the stained glass dates from 1215.

Bourges stained glass - Luxury Columnist
The exterior is incredibly rich in detail.

Exterior Cathedral - Luxury Columnist
Look carefully at the exterior and you’ll spot this cheeky gargoyle created by the Cathedral’s unknown master builder.

Bourges Cathedral cheeky shot - Luxury Columnist
Make sure to visit the tower for the spectacular view over the town.

Bourges Cathedral view - Luxury Columnist
2 – Palais Jacques Coeur

Jacques Coeur was an extremely successful merchant, knighted by King Charles VII. He was able to fund the construction of this unique Gothic mansion house.

Palais Jacques Coeur - Luxury Columnist
Some say that these two statues on the exterior of the building represent the merchant and his wife.

Jacques Coeur - Luxury Columnist        JC - Luxury Columnist
Palais Jacques Coeur - Luxury Columnist
The chapel has a beautiful painted ceiling.

Painted ceiling - Luxury Columnist
It is said that Jacques Coeur had this roof designed to resemble a boat.

3 – The Marais or Marshes

Bourges is set on the marshes or “Marais” as they are known in France. It’s a pleasant network of canals and allotments, perfect for an afternoon stroll.
Some of the allotments can only be reached by rowing boat.

Bourges Marais - Luxury Columnist
Scarecrow - Luxury Columnist
4 – The “Blue Nights” or Nuits Bleues

If you can, try to visit in Summer when the major sites are illuminated by a trail of blue lights to follow around town.

Nuits Bleus - Luxury Columnist
You can visit from nightfall every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in May, June and September and every day in July and August.

Les Nuits Bleus - Luxury Columnist
Medieval images are projected onto the historical buildings.

Les Nuits Bleus - Luxury Columnist
Nuits Bleues - Luxury Columnist
4 – Timber framed houses

Bourges has more than 440 timber framed houses. Many were rebuilt after the Great Fire of La Madeleine in 1487.

Timber framed house - Luxury Columnist
The House of the 3 Flutes has a wood carving of, you guessed it, 3 flutes on the pillars in front of the door.

3 Flutes House - Luxury Columnist
The birthplace of Jacques Coeur is particularly attractive – although some say he wasn’t actually born there.

Maison Natale JC - Luxury Columnist
6 – Rail Biking at Cosne Cours sur Loire

This is a fun activity, and great exercise. It’s a 1 hour drive from Bourges and definitely worth the trip. Cyclo Rail is a sort of bike seating up to 4 people. You pedal along a disused railway line in beautiful countryside.

Cyclo rail
It starts at the largest French metal railway bridge, built by Gustave Eiffel’s team (of the Eiffel Tower fame).

Cyclo rail - Luxury Columnist
Cycling is fairly easy as much of the 6.5 kilometre is flat.

Cyclo Rail - Luxury Columnist
You will pass over a 40 metre high viaduct, overlooking the Saint Satur river.  Cyclo Rail - Luxury Columnist
Over 3 million people have enjoyed Cyclorail in France – there are 44 sites spread all over France.

Read part 2 of my French travels here, as I travel on to Paris for some serious shopping!