Historical Bourges on a Beautiful Day


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June 6th 2015
Published: June 9th 2015
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St Etienne Cathedral
Saturday 6 June 2015

Four years ago we stayed with a wonderful French lady, a family acquaintance, in Poitiers. At the time we did not know too much about the area. She was adamant that if we ever returned to France then we had to visit Bourges. Today we are fulfilling that request.

We have had some very hot days lately but the forecast is for cooler weather, about 25. So we set out to drive the 116 kilometres that Polly had plotted. This will take about two hours. We still haven't got use to the Northern Hemisphere directions. The sun is in the South and when you think you are driving West you are actually driving East. So it is the back country roads to start and then we join the 90 kph roads. Being a Saturday everyone is shopping.

Our GPS directions take us right into the heart of Bourges through narrow winding streets. It is fun and exhilarating at the same time. The good thing is we get a carpark handy to the sights at a very good price.

Lunch was at Patapain, a patisserie version of McDonald's, much healthier and tastier without all
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Inside Bourges Cathedral
the added grease. Oh, we had to go shopping. Trousers for her and shirt for him. Then onto the Tourist Office.

Our first stop was a visit to St.Etienne Cathedral. The design is wonderful. Double flying buttresses, very high ceiling, and the nave has double aisles on both sides. There is no transept. It is amazing that it took less than 60 years to build.

From the cathedral we followed the walking tour through some of Bourges old town through little alleyways, up and down ancient steps, past magnificent old buildings that were hotels, convents, or grand homes. Evidence of early fireproofing was visible between some of the half timbered houses. Timber strengthening of the ancient Gallo-Roman wall reminded us of Christchurch after the 2010 earthquake when many concrete and brick fences needed supporting for fear of them falling down.

It was wonderful to see families out together on this warm sunny day. We sampled more of the many ice creams (glaces) on offer and watched people go about their business.

Driving home (the camping village has become home) we encountered a variety of summer activities along the way - sports, fairs, music. If only we
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The old Gallo-Roman Wall with extra support.
had known.

Back at the camp our new neighbours were preparing for the night. It started with friendly rivalry with a set of boules. We hoped it wouldn't be an all night affair. We decided on dinner out tonight, a change from in-house microwave dinners. The delightful waitress easily talked us into a bottle of a beautiful red wine from Chinon.

It had been a wonderful day exploring an historic town that has a UNESCO World Heritage Monument as its centre piece. It is certainly worth a visit and like a lot of stop offs we have left a little for next time.


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Street scene in the old town


24th June 2016

when in Bourges next time
Hi Chris and Marilyn, I lived in NZ on and off in the 1990s coming from New Caledonia. But I am a native of the province of Berry of which BOURGES is the capital. If/when you come back this way one day I'd be delighted to be your guide! Meanwhile you could perhaps read the following book: https://www.amazon.com/Dream-Maker-Jean-Christophe-Rufin-ebook/dp/B00EV4ZSA8?ie=UTF8&qid=1466750032&ref_=la_B001H9TZC2_1_3&s=books&sr=1-3 All the best, f r a n k i e
24th June 2016

Bourges re - visited, not sure
Hi Frankie Thank you for reading our blog and making a comment. As you can tell we fell in love with your wonderful city. Who knows when we might come back. At the moment we are planning our next European holiday for 2017. Italy and France are on the wish list. Should we need a guide if we re - visit Bourges we will keep you in mind. Chris & Marilyn

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