Basilique Saint Michel
Place Canteloup and Meynard, 33000 Bordeaux
Open daily: 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Mondays and Saturdays morning: 10 a.m. to noon.
Built between the 14th and 16th century in a Gothic style, its first occupants were a college of canons. The church became an important step on the Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela and because of this the Saint Michael Basilica has been listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list since 1998 (see "Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela").
The Saint-Jacques chapel has a wooden altarpiece from the 17th century decorated with a painting of "The Apotheosis of Saint-Jacques" (1632). The chapel, dedicated to the pilgrims, houses the tomb of one of these travelers called "jaquets", as well as a pieta dating back from the late 15th century and the Louis XV organ buffet dating back to 1774.
Flèche Saint Michel
Place Canteloup, 33000 Bordeaux
Full price/ reduced price : €5 / €3.50. Free for children under 12 years old.
Open every day from April through October : 10 a.m to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The bell tower of the Saint Michel Basilica was built between 1472 and 1492 and rises 114 meters toward the sky, one of the highest in the country. Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the surroundings from the tower. Discover the history of the district, the spire and the church, and listen to a concert of its 22 chimes. Reservations are required to visit the tour, available at the Tourist Office. Not recommended for young children.
Outdoor market on the square on Mondays and Saturdays. Flea market on Sundays.
The story ... of mummies
In 1791 the old cemetery surrounding the church was removed, and became the current Place Meynard. The bones were stacked in the crypt beneath the bell tower and covered with earth. Dozens of bodies were then exhumed, placed in a circle in the crypt, and because they were so well conserved by the clay soil, the display quickly turned into a sort of museum. The mummies, inspiring many legends, attracted curious onlookers, and sometimes famous ones. Victor Hugo visited the crypt in 1843, followed by Théophile Gautier a few years later. The crypt was closed in 1979 and the mummies were buried, this time in the cemetery of the monastery.
Cathédrale Saint André
Place Pey Berland, 33000 Bordeaux
Tel : 05 56 52 68 10.
Open daily excepted on Monday morning: 10 a.m. to noon/ 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Saturday until 7 p.m.
International Organ Festival in the summer.
This monument is included on the World Heritage List under the Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela (1998).
Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the cathedral was consecrated in 1096 by Pope Urban II, who came to preach there during the First Crusade. It offers a fine example of Gothic architecture.
Many royal weddings have been celebrated in the cathedral, including that of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Louis VII, son of the King of France, in 1137. During the following century, the cathedral was damaged several times by storms and fire. Only the magnificent Portail Royal (1250), protected by the townhouses against the wall, escaped destruction. In the 19th century, after serving as fodder reserve during the Revolution, the renovation led by architect Abadie formed a coherent architectural ensemble.
The nave dates back to the 12th century, while the choir and chapels are from the 14th century. It was completed in the 15th century with the completion of the bell tower, or the Pey-Berland Tower, as well as the two 81-meter towers on the north façade. One of the largest in France with a wingspan of 15 meters, the organ was restored in 1982.
The Tympanum : Below, the lintel depicts the Last Supper. Above, you can see the ascension of Christ among the twelve apostles. At the top of the tympanum, God is portrayed as a Christ enthroned between two angels.
Tour Pey-Berland (1446)
Place Pey-Berland, 33000 Bordeaux
- tel : 05 56 81 26 25.
Full price / reduced price: €6 / €5. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (or under 18 years old for non-EU citizens)
Open daily from June through September: 10 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ;
October through May, Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
The tower bears the name of the archbishop who built it. In a flamboyant Gothic style, the bell tower of Saint André Cathedral has a spire topped by a statue of Our Lady of Aquitaine. The choice to separate the construction of the tower from the cathedral meant that larger bells could be used, whose vibrations could have weakened the structure of the whole building. Magnificent views of Bordeaux from the terraces.
Place des Martyrs de la Résistance, 33000 Bordeaux
Tel : 05 56 48 04 24.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday: 8:30 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. (closed on Monday and Sunday afternoon).
Tours offered from June through September, Saturday: 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Visits of the necropolis: June through September (fee). Information available at the Tourist Office.
The Church of Saint-Seurin was named after the fourth bishop of the city. Built in the 6th century, it is the oldest place of worship in Bordeaux, and its crypt is one of the oldest historical remains of the city.
Although many additions have altered the Gothic style over the centuries, it remains a masterpiece of Romanesque art. On the south portal, the tympanum traces the Last Judgment. The crypt contains an impressive Christian necropolis from the 4th to the 18th century. Today, it tells the story of Christianity in Bordeaux. The legend says that this cemetery was consecrated by Christ and that some of the martyrs who died in Roncesvaux were buried there.
It is also said that this is where Charlemagne left Roland’s Horn. In the Middle Ages it was an important stop for pilgrims on the Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela. In 1998, it was included on the World Heritage List.
Eglise Notre Dame (1707)
1 Rue Mably, 33000 Bordeaux
tel : 05 56 81 01 37
This former Dominican chapel unveils a richly decorated Baroque façade on the Place du Chapelet. The interior, more sober, has remarkable acoustics. The beautiful organ case dates back to the 18th century. The church hosts many concerts. Guided tours are available.
Les Chemins de Saint Jacques de Compostela
On December 2nd, 1998, the General Assembly of UNESCO adopted the proposal to include the Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela in France on the list of World Heritage Sites. Among 71 monuments associated with the pilgrimage and adopted by the committee, 19 are located in Aquitaine, including three in Bordeaux (the Saint André Cathedral, the Saint-Seurin Basilica and the Saint Michel Basilica). In Bordeaux, accommodation of pilgrims from Médoc, Tours or the British Isles, was provided at the Saint James Hospital. Today, Bordeaux still welcomes pilgrims in the three churches dedicated to them in the city.
Association Bordeaux Compostella - Saint James Hospitality
Maison des pèlerins (House of Pilgrims)
28 rue des Argentiers, 33000 Bordeaux
Tel : 05 56 48 11 63.
Association of the Friends of Saint Jacques in Aquitaine
Headquarters and shelter: 4 rue Blanqui, 33110 Le Bouscat
Information, shelter: tel : 05 56 08 10 58
Association of the Friends of Saint Jacques Gradignan Gironde
Headquarters and pilgrim lodging : 1 rue de Chartrèze, 33170 Gradignan
Information: tel : 06 82 00 88 94