department: cher (18)
region: centre

Bourges has been a place of importance for more than 2,000 years, but not until the end of the 14th century did it take on a wider than regional role, under Jean de Berry. He it was who made Bourges a centre of the arts, one that would rival Dijon and Avignon.

Saint-Étienne cathedral, which offers guided tours from April to September, was constructed between the end of the 12th and the end of the 13th centuries, and is the seat of the diocese of Bourges (Départements of Cher and Indre). It is a masterpiece of the French Gothic style, and is renowned for its stained-glass windows.

The city is a delight to explore, with many meandering ways that will draw you in, beckoning like and impatient child. One of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval districts in France can be found at the foot of the Cathedral of Bourges. Almost all of the city's timber-framed houses date back to the 15th Century, rebuilt after the Great Fire of the Madeleine in 1487. More than 450 line the streets winding down from the cathedral to the market square, making this area of Bourges a photographer's delight.

Son et Lumière

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at nightfall in May, June and September, and every evening at sundown in July and August. A blue light, like Ariane's thread, leads the visitor through scenes and music around the town. Guided by the blue halo of lanterns,  stroll at your own pace, lingering at will over the small details and sculptural surprises which reveal all the architectural wealth of the ancient city. 

The sound-and-light stroll is entirely free of charge, and lasts about 1h30. In addition, the tourist office offers a selection of discovery tours, notably of the medieval quarter.

© Atout France/R Cast

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21 rue Victor Hugo, 18000 BOURGES
Tel: 02 48 23 02 60