Gates of the City

A selection of the most interesting gates among the eight that access the city center.


The Porte cailhau (1496)
23 Place du Palais, 33000 Bordeaux
tel : 05 56 48 04 24.
Price: €3.50. Free for children under 12 years old.
Open daily: 10 a.m. to noon/ 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Not recommended for young children. Main entrance to the city, it was constructed in a military style in honor of King Charles VIII, victor of the battle of Fornovo (Italy). His statue stands on the side facing the river. The emergence of the Renaissance era influenced its architecture and offers unexpected decorations. From its 35-meter height visitors can enjoy a beautiful view over the city, the river and the Stone Bridge (1822), the first bridge of Bordeaux.


The Porte de la Grosse cloche (15th Century)
Rue Saint James, Cours Victor Hugo, 33000 Bordeaux
Tel : 05 56 48 04 24.
Open daily from June through Septembre: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The rest of the Year, on Saturday: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Visits can be booked at the Tourist Office.

Attached to the church of Saint Eloi, the gate served as a belfry for the former City Hall. The two towers of Saint Eloi, nicknamed the Big Bell, rise 40 meters high. Pilgrims following the Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela passed under the Porte de la Grosse Cloche. Many changes were made over the centuries following its creation. The leopard appearing above the door recalls the arms of the English Guyenne of which Bordeaux was the capital. The current bell was cast in 1775, weighs 7,800 kilograms and is two meters in height and diameter. Recently restored, the bell is beautifully lit in the evening.


The porte Dijeaux (1748)
Place Gambetta, 33000 Bordeaux

Its name comes from the Gascon "De Jou" (Jupiter), recalling that a temple of Jupiter sat at the same location during the Gallo-Roman era.


The Porte d’Aquitaine (1753)
Place de la Victoire, 33000 Bordeaux

One of the eight entrances to the city sits at the center of the Place de la Victoire. Its name was given in memory of the Duke of Aquitaine. Imposing, in a triumphal arch 32 meters wide, the Porte d’Aquitaine is topped by a triangular pediment (attic) decorated with sculptures of sea gods and the royal coat of arms on the side of the square, and fruits and flowers on the side of Rue Sainte Catherine.

 

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