Discover Bourges – The Lesser-Known French City
Discover Bourges – The Lesser-Known French City – When you think of luxury, you might think the South of France, or Paris. Northern France holds a special place in many travelers’ hearts, but Central France has an eclectic vibe all its own. For instance, the city of Bourges is much lesser-known than it ought to be. There’s a lot more to Bourges than just a famous cathedral.
Bourges, or Avaricum during the reign of the Romans, was the country’s capital when Charles VII was the reigning king. By medieval times, Bourges was a thriving, important center of commerce. It’s a relatively small town that’s great for a weekend getaway. If you’re vacationing in France, it’s just a couple hours away from Paris by train, or an hour and a half from the Tours airport. Today, visitors can immerse themselves in the history of the region.
Knighted by Charles VII himself, Jacques Couer was a successful merchant. He funded the building of his own mansion and was one of Charles’ closest advisors. His mansion is known as Palais Jacques Couer. It was built in the 1400s and remains one of the Gothic architectural style’s most beloved masterpieces. On the grounds outside the mansion are two statues – one for Couer and one for his wife. Inside the home, you’ll find a vaulted ceiling, painted beautifully, above a glorious chapel. Around the home’s exterior, you’ll find the words: A coeur vaillant rein d’impossible. These words are inscribed in several places around the property – meaning Nothing’s impossible for the brave in heart – which was Coeur’s motto. To Coeur, nothing was more brave than a sailor taking on the high seas, and because of this, in adding to his motto, he designed the roof’s timbers to look like a boat.
But if you’re more after a weekend of the here-and-now, travel during the Printemps de Bourges. This annual French rock music festival has been held every year since 1977. Every spring, more than 200 musicians and artists are packed into five days of partying throughout the town.
No matter what you’re after, Bourges has a bit of something for every taste. Enjoy France like a Frenchman.