Bordeaux, a city renowned for its stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and rich history, is home to several magnificent churches that have gracefully weathered the passage of time. One such gem that consistently captivates the attention of visitors is Bordeaux Church also known as Bordeaux Cathedral. Bordeaux Cathedral is officially known as Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux.
Situated near the Town Hall, Bordeaux Church stands elegantly at Pey Berland Square, as a breathtaking religious monument and the epitome of beauty in the city. This imposing Gothic edifice, located in the heart of Aquitaine’s capital, holds a significant place in Bordeaux’s architectural and cultural landscape. As the largest religious building in Bordeaux, it has rightfully earned its UNESCO World Heritage site status since 1998.
In this article, I shall delve into the historical significance, architectural beauty, and cultural importance of Bordeaux Church, helping you decide whether it’s worth a visit during your trip to Bordeaux.
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BORDEAUX CHURCH HISTORY
Bordeaux Church, officially known as Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux, has a fascinating history that spans several centuries. It’s origin can be traced back to the 4th century when a church dedicated to Saint Andrew stood on the site. However, the current cathedral’s construction began in the late 11th century during the Romanesque period.
Architectural styles of the Bordeaux Church
The Romanesque architectural style is characterised by thick walls, rounded arches, and sturdy pillars. The building work continued throughout the 12th century, with further additions and modifications.
In the 13th century, Bordeaux Church underwent a significant transformation. The architectural focus shifted to the emerging Gothic style of the time. This transition was marked by the construction of the eastern end of the cathedral in the high Gothic style, with pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and large stained glass windows.
Over the centuries, Bordeaux Church has undergone several modifications and restorations. In the 18th century, the cathedral underwent renovations in the Neoclassical style, including changes to the interior and the addition of the organ. Some internal modifications included the addition of chapels, extension of the nave and the choir.
The Bordeaux Church also suffered damage during the French Revolution when it was used as a Temple of Reason.
Routes of Santiago de Compostela
Classified as a historical monument in 1862, the Bordeaux Church is listed as part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has since benefited from various restoration projects to preserve its architectural integrity and artistic treasures.
Bordeaux Church Today
Today, Bordeaux Church showcases a unique character and a blend of architectural styles. You can witness the layers of history with each architectural feature that contribute to the overall charm of this cathedral.
Bordeaux Church is the seat of the Archdiocese of Bordeaux and a place of worship for the local Catholic community.
PEY BERLAND TOWER
One of the iconic features of Bordeaux Cathedral is the Pey-Berland Tower. Built separately from the main cathedral structure, it stands adjacent to the choir. The construction of this elegant bell tower began in the 15th century, during the late Gothic period. It was named after the Archbishop Pey Berland, who initiated its construction.
The Pey Berland Tower is open to visitors and is known for offering panoramic views from its top. To reach the top, you’ll need to climb a series of steps within the tower. In total, there are 231 steps to reach the top of the Pey Berland Tower. The climb can be challenging. The staircase is narrow as is the terrace. However, you are rewarded with a breathtaking view of Bordeaux and its surroundings, making it a well worth the effort.
The Pey Berland Tower is open daily. The entry fee is 6.00 Euros but it is free with Bordeaux City Pass.
WHAT TO EXPERIENCE WHEN YOU VISIT
When you visit, you’ll be able to explore its intricate details, soaring arches, and majestic spires.
The Exterior of Bordeaux Church
Admire the harmonious blend of architectural styles, from Gothic to Renaissance influences, that adorn the façade and interior of the church. Marvel at the craftsmanship displayed in the stained glass windows, ornate sculptures, and meticulously carved stone features. Bordeaux Church is a testament to the extraordinary talent of its builders and the enduring beauty of their creations.
When you step inside…
Step inside Bordeaux Church and be greeted by a treasure trove of artistic marvels. Discover the exquisite religious paintings, sculptures, and artefacts that adorn its sacred spaces. Delve into the symbolism and meaning behind these masterpieces, crafted by renowned artists of their time. As you immerse yourself in the serene ambiance, embrace the spiritual significance of Bordeaux Church as a place of worship, reflection, and solace for generations.
I have been to many cathedrals, churches and places of worship through the years and this is a pretty one. Of course, nothing beats St Paul’s Cathedral in London as it holds a special place in my heart, but Bordeaux Church sits among the best such as Milan Cathedral and Montserrat.
Bordeaux Church stands as a remarkable testament to the city’s rich history, architectural splendour, and cultural heritage which alone makes it a worthy addition to your schedule in Bordeaux. Throughout its centuries-long existence, it has evolved, incorporating various architectural styles and influences, resulting in a captivating blend of features that captivate visitors.
Whether you are a history enthusiast, an art lover, a spiritual seeker, or simply a curious traveller, a visit to Bordeaux Church promises a rewarding experience. Its historical significance, architectural beauty, and cultural importance combine to create an enchanting atmosphere that continues to inspire awe.
Bordeaux Church is definitely worth a visit during your trip to Bordeaux considering its profound impact on the city’s identity and its ability to evoke a sense of wonder. No matter if it is the historical narratives, the captivating architecture, the spiritual sanctity, or simply the desire to connect with the rich tapestry of Bordeaux’s past, a visit to Bordeaux Church is likely to leave a lasting impression and enrich your experience of this magnificent city.
Bordeaux Church (Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux)
Pl. Pey Berland, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Monday: 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Tuesday: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Wednesday: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Thursday: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Friday: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Saturday: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Sunday: 9:30 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Are You Planning to Explore Other European Destinations?
If so, as you plan your travels and immerse yourself in the wonders of Bordeaux, consider expanding your itinerary to include additional captivating destinations within France and beyond.
Just a short train ride from Bordeaux, the medieval village of Saint-Émilion beckons with its charming streets and vineyard-dotted landscapes. Discover the timeless allure of this village through my comprehensive guide, which offers the best itinerary for a day of exploration.
If you are thinking of spending a couple of days in Bordeaux, you’ll find this comprehensive guide to two days in Bordeaux chock full of ideas and the best things to do.
Venturing beyond France, England along with the vibrant city of London awaits, brimming with iconic attractions and cultural experiences. Uncover the highlights of this cosmopolitan city on my dedicated London page. Additionally, don’t miss the opportunity to visit picturesque English towns like Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Castle Combe, nestled amidst the idyllic countryside.
Stow-on-the-Wold, renowned for its enchanting “magical door” at St Edward’s Church, is worth a visit. This door is said to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in his creation of the “Doors of Durin” in the Lord of the Rings.
Scotland‘s majestic landscapes and rich heritage await your exploration. From the historic city of Edinburgh to the captivating Highlands, there is much to discover. Don’t miss the chance to visit iconic landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle and embark on a magical journey aboard the Jacobite Steam Train, known as the Harry Potter train.
Italy, a treasure trove of beauty and culture, invites you to explore its enchanting destinations. Immerse yourself in the romance of Verona, the cosmopolitan flair of Milan, and the stunning landscapes of Lake Como and Lake Garda. Discover valuable insights and recommendations for your Italian adventure on my dedicated travel page.
Other European Gems
For a seamless travel experience, be sure to explore my resource page, filled with valuable tips and information. Embark on a European journey of exploration and discovery, with each destination offering its own unique charm and experiences. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant streets of London, the breathtaking landscapes of Scotland, or the cultural wonders of Italy, Europe makes a great destination for unforgettable memories.