The next day by Murg to Bourges1, four leagues, where we spent the day. This is the capital of Berry, an University much frequented by the Dutch, situated on the river Eure. It stands high, is strong, and well placed for defense; is environed with meadows and vines, and the living here is very cheap. In the suburbs of St. Privé, there is a fountain of sharp water which they report wholesome against the stone.

“Bourges. Le 13 Aoust 1635”. Artist unknown. 1635. Source: BnF.

They showed us a vast tree which they say stands in the center of France. The French tongue is spoken with great purity in this place. St. Stephen’s church is the cathedral, well built à la Gothique, full of sepulchres without-side, with the representation of the final Judgment over one of the ports2.

“Veüe de la Croupe de l’Eglise de S. Etienne de Bourges” (Bourges Cathedral) by Étienne Martelange. 1621. Source: BnF

Here they show the chapel of Claude de la Chastre, a famous soldier who had served six kings of France in their wars. St. Chapelle is built much like that at Paris, full of relics, and containing the bones of one Briat, a giant of fifteen cubits high. It was erected by John, Duke of Berry, and there is showed the coronet of the dukedom. The great tower is a Pharos for defense of the town, very strong, in thickness eighteen feet, fortified with graffs and works; there is a garrison in it, and a strange engine for throwing great stones, and the iron cage where Louis, Duke of Orleans, was kept by Charles VIII.

“Veüe de la Ste Chapelle du Palais de Bourge’” (Saint Chapel of Bourges, “chapel of Claude de la Chastre”  ) by Étienne Martellange. 1621. Source: BnF

Near the Town-house stands the College of Jesuits, where was heretofore an Amphitheater. I was courteously entertained by a Jesuit, who had us into the garden, where we fell into disputation. The house of Jaques Cœur3 is worth seeing. Bourges is an Archbishopric and Primacy of Aquitaine. I took my leave of Mr. Nicholas4, and some other English there; and, on the 23d, proceeded on my journey by Pont du Charge; and lay that evening at Coulaiure, thirteen leagues.

“Bourges. Hôtel de Jacques Coeur” by Jean-Lubin Vauzelle, 1816. Source: BnF.

  1. Bourges is said to be in the centre of France. –AD 

  2. The central door in the W. façade. –AD 

  3. Afterwards the Hôtel de Ville –AD 

  4. See ante, p. 104. –AD