Favorite thing: Very little remains to celebrate Bourges most famous ruler. Jean, Duc du Berry, was the brother of King Charles V and was the richest and most cultured member of his family. His father Jean II (le Bon) was of similar nature. The son was exchanged as a hostage to the English who had captured the father. When this was resolved in the 1340’s he settled in Berry and began his career of assembling collections of fine tapestries and other works of Art (somewhat in competition with his other brothers in Burgundy and Anjou.). The most famous item is his “book” of miniatures “Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry”, primarily ones by the Limbourg brothers, now minimally exhibited in the museum at Chantilly, items from it present in all Art History Books. (The picture here is from the month of January and shows the Duc at Table exchanging gifts on New Year’s Day. There is a military tapestry on the back wall). He had an elaborate tomb made (modeled after brother Philippe’s tomb in Dijon) by Jean de Cambrai, but it was destroyed in the 18C. The original effigy is in the Crypt of the Cathedral and other parts in the Palace of Jacques Coeur.
Favorite thing: The statue brings up memories of the history of Jacques Coeur. He was born in Bourges (1394-1456), and was a financier and merchant who became master of the mint (Grand Argentier) under Charles V, where he unified the coinage of the country. He prospered by his development of French trade with the Levant and had many associates carefully located for that purpose. (He and they were not of the nobility). He continued successful in everything but was brought down by false accusations, tried and imprisoned for life in 1453, His associates engineered his escape. He became an advisor to the Pope in Rome and died on a Crusade in 1456. He did not see the completion of his retirement palace but installed many comforts there not seen in mansions before. This statue in his honor stands in a square before his mansion.
The Cathedral St Etienne in Bourges was built in the 13th century and is one of the top rated cathedrals in France. This is where I had my first communion.
For more information check with the Bourges Tourism Office
Fondest memory: We attended a wedding in this Cathedral last year and the organ music was absolutely wonderful.